The Dutch Pension Federation – Pensioenfederatie – and the Netherlands’ largest pension asset managers APG, PGGM and MN, have written a joint letter to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, urging her to reconsider the “unwarranted and undesirable scaling down of ambitions” in the Commission’s latest proposal of reporting standards under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
Ger Jaarsma, chair of Pensioenfederatie, co-signed the letter to Von der Leyen with APG Asset Management chief executive officer Ronald Wuijster, PGGM chief investment officer Geraldine Leegwater and MN’s investment management CEO Martijn Scholten.
In their letter, they urge the Commission to reconsider its approach. The four Dutch pension organisations are especially concerned that the Commission’s revised proposal will lead to the unavailability of sustainability data for pension funds.
Last month, the European sustainable investment forum Eurosif also said it was “very concerned” by the revised proposals, which are based on recommendations published in November by the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG).
However, instead of adopting these proposals outright, the Commission has rowed back in some key areas, most notably by “giving companies too much leeway and too much freedom not to report, or only partially, on sustainability”, according to the Dutch pension organsiations.
‘Return to EFRAG advice’
The four organisations said the Commission’s decision to make sustainability reporting essentially voluntary instead of mandatory “shifts the burden to pension funds and other financial market participants that remain obliged to report under the SFDR [Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation]”.
This will undermine the consistency and comparability of the CSRD and SFRD reporting, they added.
“The European Commission finds in us a supporter in the pursuit of a greener economy. But we cannot do it alone,” noted Pensioenfederatie’s Jaarsma.
“Without reliable and comparable information from companies on issues such as pollution, CO2 emissions and energy consumption, we are left in the dark. We want to move forward, but we can only do so if we join forces – national and European policymakers, consumers, investors and the business community,” he said.
In their letter, the Dutch pension organisations therefore urge the Commission to return to the original EFRAG advice which had suggested that, as a minimum, all climate indicators should be mandatory under the CSRD.