PKBS, the CHF14.6bn (€14.9bn) Pensionskasse of the city of Basel, has dropped ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Glencore from its portfolio as the companies conducted acquisitions reinforcing their commitment to oil and gas expansion, the scheme said in its 2023 sustainability report.

Last year, Glencore announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Elk Valley Resources, the steelmaking coal business of mining company Teck, while Exxon bought shale group Pioneer Natural Resources. Just a few weeks later Chevron announced its takeover of Hess.

The takeovers mean that, even if pressured through engagement, the companies will not be able to follow the global warming 1.5°C threshold, the scheme said explaining the reasons for the exclusions.

In the energy sector, the scheme excludes companies making revenues from, and active in, oil sands, shale oil and Arctic oil and gas, a policy that led, for example, to the scheme dropping Glencore from its portfolio.

In the coal sector, instead, the revenues threshold to exclude companies from its portfolio is 5%, according to the report.

In the past annual general meeting season the pension fund voted against shareholders’ proposals at the Bank of Montreal and the Toronto-Dominion Bank, calling for financing of the Canadian oil and gas sector.

In Switzerland, the scheme rejected Credit Suisse’s climate report in 2023, as well as cliamte report of Berner Kantonalbank, UBS and Holchim, it added.

PKBS engages with companies through the Ethos engagement pools, domestically and internationally, that are linked to the Nature Action 100+ Initiative.

This year, PKBS’s board of directors has decided to implement an ESG index for investments in Swiss equities.

Last year, emissions financed by PKBS through equity investments increased by 12%, and the absolute amount of greenhouse gas emissions at the Scope 1 and 2 levels increased by around 20,000 tons of CO2 equivalents, in parallel with an increase in value of its equity portfolio, according to its report.

The weighted carbon intensity of the fund’s equity portfolio fell from 98.5 to 82 tonnes of CO2e per CHFm, 51% below that of the benchmark (MSCI ACWI), it added.

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