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BpfBouw increases commitment to sustainability

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BpfBOUW, the €47bn scheme for the building industry, plans to extend its policy for sustainable investment to themes that are particularly relevant to its participants.

In its annual ESG report for 2016, it indicated that it wanted to increase investments in support of a sustainable environment, the transition to locally generated clean energy, and property in the care sector.

In addition, the scheme said it would demand from companies that they pay sufficient attention to safe labour conditions.

The report shows that BpfBouw invested €60m of its €8bn property portfolio in redeveloping and increasing the sustainability of its property holdings.

This included transforming the former Citroën buildings in Amsterdam into offices, as well as changing the old Shell office in The Hague into apartments.

The pension fund said that Bouwinvest, its property manager, would demand that property developers and building companies report their building sites to Conscious Builders, a local foundation that monitors safety and sustainability.

APG, which manages BpfBouw’s other investments, started a project against child labour in the cocoa sector and cobalt mining, the building sector pension fund said.

In addition to its property strategy, the industry-wide scheme has tasked the managers of its equity portfolio to gradually reduce carbon emissions, aiming for a total reduction of 25% by 2020.

BpfBouw’s stake in sustainable energy assets rose by €57m to €329m last year following investment in green bonds linked to a power grid for offshore wind farms. It also took a stake in a US wind farm.

The pension fund also said it wanted to raise its current €47m allocation to care sector property assets to €500m in the coming years. Currently, it has €56m of objects under construction or redevelopment.

Last year, the sector scheme joined the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investing and engaged with 245 listed companies about sustainability, human rights, and governance.

It said that it was taking stock of which large companies in 12 industry sectors were ahead and behind on sustainability in order to better focus its future investments. By 2020, it aims to have mapped out the status of all firms in its investment universe.

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