The ABN Amro pension fund plans to pay specific attention to the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) focusing on climate and energy. The €32bn scheme’s decision followed an online survey among its members.

The pension fund said it had named SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (climate action) as “specific areas of attention” in its investment policy.

Maarten Roest, head of investments at the Dutch scheme, declined to give any details on the effects on the fund’s investment portfolio as the new policy is currently being implemented.

The step follows an earlier measure of the fund to reduce the carbon footprint of its equity portfolio by 50% in 2022 compared to 2017 levels. Two years on, the fund has integrated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria and cut emissions by half.

In addition, the ABN Amro pension fund also implemented ESG integration in its credit portfolio last year, reducing its carbon footprint by 40% compared to its benchmark.

Roest said the fund had no further plans to focus on additional SDGs, adding, however, that its sustainability policy “is constantly subject of change”.

Following the outcomes of the online survey of its 44,500 active members and pensioners, which had a response rate of 16%, the ABN Amro pension fund also decided to exclude producers of controversial weapons and tobacco makers from both its credit and equity portfolios.

Disagreement with ABN Amro bank

The pension fund also said it disagreed with ABN Amro bank about the latter’s annual contribution to the fund’s administrative costs. Until the conclusion of a new collective labour agreement in September last year, the bank contributed a fixed amount of money each year.

The bank said the pension fund is entitled to a lower financial contribution as of 2020 following the conclusion of the collective labour agreement.

The scheme was not a party to this, and claims the financial contribution cannot be reduced without its permission. The conflict has now been relayed to an independent arbitration institute, which will give a binding verdict on the matter.

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