The €7bn pension fund for doctors in Berlin is exiting “CO2-intense investments in the area of fossil energy production”.
In a statement, the “Berliner Ärzteversorgung” (BÄV) noted this was a “first step” towards reducing CO2-intense shares in oil and gas-related companies in the portfolio.
It said it would divest all of its shares in companies that generate more than 25% of their turnover from coal mining, as well as those that base more than one-quarter of their energy production on coal.
For the BÄV, this affects 40 companies, or 1% of the equity portfolio in total.
“The share is rather small because companies from the energy sector never were a focus in our investment strategy,” it said.
The BÄV invests less than 20% of its portfolio in shares but almost 40% in bonds, which were not mentioned in the exit strategy.
“We will continue to monitor our investments regularly to decide on possible fine-tuning in the future – for example, by including gas and oil,” it said.
It emphasised that the 25% hurdle was stricter than the one Allianz set for its divestment from coal, at 30%.
The BÄV said it based its decision on the results from the world global climate conference in Paris in 2015.
However, in a separate statement, a group of doctors, all of which are members of the BÄV, pointed out that they had urged their fund to divest from coal two years ago.
The doctors added that they would like the BÄV to divest from companies along the coal-production value chain as well.
They called on all pension funds for doctors to have their sustainability strategies – if they have implemented one – evaluated externally and make them more transparent.
Divestment from coal has been a major trend over the last two years, with Allianz being one of the largest players.
Since then, other insurers and pension funds have followed suit, including most recently France’s FRR, as reported on IPE.