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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Europe’s largest pension fund announces divestment from fossil fuels

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.

Corien Wortmann
Corien Wortmann, chairperson of the ABP board

In recent months the campaign scaled up and was threatening legal action.

Observers see It as a highly significant decision that will see €15 billion, almost 3% of ABP’s total invested capital, channeled away from oil majors like Shell and their 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,” said Liset Meddens, director at Fossielvrij NL.

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 October 29.

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