26 October. Heerlen, the Netherlands – Europe’s largest pension fund ABP has announced it will divest from fossil fuel producers by 2023. Pension participants – teachers, scientists and civil servants – have been campaigning for the pension giant to divest from fossil fuels since 2014.
In recent months the campaign scaled up and was threatening legal action. It is a highly significant decision that will see 15 billion euros, almost 3% of ABP’s total invested capital, channeled away from oil majors like Shell and their devastating projects around the world.
“This is really fantastic, after all these years of campaigning, we finally succeeded. This is a huge victory for the climate, human rights and all life on earth. ABP is the largest pension fund in Europe: the importance of this step at home and abroad cannot be underestimated. ABP has admitted that this decision is due to all pension participants and employers who have spoken out and organised. This shows that pressure from below works: as an ordinary citizen, you can make a difference.” – Liset Meddens, director at Fossielvrij NL.
“ABP’s investment in fossil fuel companies has for years aggravated problems such as the use of fracking in the Vaca Muerta area of Argentina. Vulnerable communities have experienced damages to their homes and crops, not to mention the high risks to public health. A pension fund cannot guarantee the future of some people at the expense of the future of others, just because those people who lose out are in a distant country or because they have another ethnic origin.” – Ilan Zugman, Latin America Managing Director at 350.org.
Corien Wortmann, chairperson of the board also cited this year’s stark IPCC report and the International Energy Agency’s call for an end to new fossil fuel investment as reasons for the decision to ditch fossil fuels, “radical change is necessary” said Wortmann.
Campaigners in the Netherlands will use the momentum from this successful divestment campaign to put pressure on other pension funds. This is also a boost for campaigners across Europe who are pushing financial institutions to stop financing climate chaos with a wave of actions taking place on 29th October.
Available for interview:
- Nienke de Graaf – Civil Servant at the City of Amsterdam
- Felix van Vught — Teacher higher education Utrecht
- Liset Meddens – Director at Fossielvrij NL
- Hiske Arts – Coordinator ABP Fossielvrij
Media Contacts – please contact to arrange an interview:
Liset Meddens, Director at Fossielvrij NL, [email protected], +31 641277905
Hiske Arts, Coordinator ABP Fossielvrij, [email protected], +31 44822846