Dutch healthcare scheme PFZW has sold €470m worth of investments in 114 oil and gas firms for not establishing carbon=reduction goals.
Earlier this year, the pension fund sent a letter to 191 oil and gas companies asking them whether they had plans for CO2 reduction. It turned out 144 of these companies did not have such plans and investments in them have therefore been sold.
The firms that were sold are almost exclusively based in emerging markets and the US. Large oil majors such as Shell, Total, BP and ExxonMobil all have targets to be carbon neutral by 2050, although they also plan to keep investing in new oil and gas fields at the same time.
PFZW’s divestments include one West European firm, the Danish supplier to the oil and gas industry Welltec.
PFZW president Joanne Kellermann said earlier that she did not expect all companies to reply to her letter. Some companies indeed ignored it, and have been sold as a result, a spokesperson for PFZW confirmed.
Companies without carbon-reduction goals that did reply to PFZW’s letter tended to defend their lack of reduction targets by mentioning the need for energy security, the spokesperson added.
PFZW has started engaging with 13 large fossil fuel firms, in which it has combined investments of €1.1bn. These companies will have to commit to align themselves with the goals of the Paris Agreement by the end of the year to avoid divestment, PFZW said.
Last month, PFZW’s asset manager PGGM published a statement together with several other Dutch pension investors including MN and APG, in which it called on oil and gas firms to do more to reduce emissions.
Despite “commendable progress in the past few years”, the investors said that “no oil and gas company has fully convinced us of their Paris alignment”.
The Dutch investors called on oil firms to boost the availability of low-carbon solutions and not to use the high oil prices as a reason to increase oil investments.
Additionally, they have also asked the firms to explain how natural gas acts as a transition fuel. Companies such as Shell and Total have recently increased investments in natural gas, hailing the fuel as a “low-carbon energy option”.
PFZW is currently investigating which oil and gas companies have officially committed to aligning themselves with keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C.
“Without such a commitment companies in the sector will no longer be eligible for investment from 2023,” PFZW said in a press release.
“The companies remaining in our portfolio after that will have to have formulated a convincing and verifiable strategy for their climate transition within a year from now,” it said.
A spokesperson for PFZW could not name any oil and gas firms that are already sufficiently qualified to remain investable in 2023.