NETHERLANDS – Dutch pension funds have made progress on sustainable investing in general, but failed to implement overall sustainable policies, according to the Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO).

A study by the VBDO found that most pension funds merely deploy some of the available instruments, and argued that schemes should act much more systematically.

It recommended, for example, that pension funds pay more attention to actively selecting companies at the forefront of sustainable investing.

Improvements could also be made on transparency, the VBDO said.

It added: "No more than 18 of the surveyed 50 schemes have published a list of their investments in one or more asset classes, and merely 11 pension funds have provided clarity about most of their investments."

The lobbying organisation recommended involving pension funds' participants more closely in the decision-making process for sustainable investments.

It said it found that the trend towards sustainable investment at pension funds had continued for property and government bonds in particular, but it also noted that there was hardly any progress on alternative investments.

The €125bn healthcare scheme PFZW, the €9bn pension fund for the agricultural sector (Landbouw) and the €34bn pension fund for the building industry (BpfBOUW) were the best performers on sustainable investment, according to the VBDO.

Its research also found that larger pension funds tend to score better than smaller ones, whereas industry-wide schemes generally fare better than company pensions funds.

The VBDO surveyed 21 company schemes, 26 industry-wide pension funds and three occupational pension plans, responsible for the pensions of 13.8m people.

The survey was conducted in co-operation with research bureau Profundo.