PWRI, the €7.6bn pension fund for disabled workers in the Netherlands, has developed an “Inclusivity Index” consisting of companies that employ people with a work disability.

The scheme said it sought to make targeted investments in companies that contribute to the implementation of the Participation Act, which aims to employ more than 125,000 disabled workers in the private and public sectors by 2026.

Kees de Wit, a board member and chairman of PWRI’s investment committee, said: “As things stand now, the implementation is getting nowhere near its target.

“Human resource departments tend to find hiring disabled workers awkward – that’s why we try to approach companies from the investment side.”

The Inclusivity Index is to consist of 50 companies with strong track records on hiring disabled workers.

PSO, a foundation that measures corporate performance, is to select the companies, reviewing the index annually.

PWRI said it currently had a universe of 77 listed companies – with 27 having Dutch branches – that could accommodate its target group.

“We want to extend the universe as soon as possible to 200,” said De Wit, adding that the concept of ‘inclusion’ was likely to be more effective than exclusion.

“We would like to see some competition for the best ranking.”

The pension fund has already allocated €50m as a target investment in approximately 35 companies; this is likely to be followed by an additional €50m next year, according to De Wit. 

At a later stage, other pension funds will be given the option to invest through the Inclusivity Index, which is to be operated by BMO, PWRI’s asset manager.

PWRI – which has 95,000 active participants, 47,000 pensioners and 75,000 deferred members – recently restarted negotiations with the €172bn healthcare scheme PFZW over a possible merger.