The Dutch multi-sector pension fund PGB will join the platform for sustainable development investments (SDIs) that was launched last year by pension asset managers APG and PGGM.

The €32.4bn PGB expects joining the platform will provide it with a more reliable picture of its investments relating to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The negotiations to join the platform are in the final stages, according to PGB. The pension fund expects to sign the contract shortly.

APG and PGGM jointly took the initiative to launch the so-called SDI Asset Owner Platform last year. The platform aims to map the extent to which the products and services sold by 1,800 listed companies contribute to the SDGs.

Before the platform’s official launch last September, AustralianSuper and Canadian pension fund British Columbia Investment Management also joined the platform as founding partners.

PGB is the first fund to announce it’s joining the platform since the launch. The status of the firm will be different from the four founding partners, as PGB will not be involved in designing the methodology behind the platform.

‘No more internal discussions’

PGB expects joining the SDI platform will end “internal discussions” about the meaning of impact and how to measure it.

Yvonne Janssen, policy officer for sustainable investing at PGB, said: “Directly after joining the platform, we will receive an overview of our current exposure to the SDGs in our listed equity portfolio. This way, we will immediately know to which SDGs we have sufficient exposure and in which areas we can still improve in the future.”

The overview will relate to all 17 SDGs, though PGB identified five SDGs to focus on specifically last year, after consulting its members and employers. These are the SDGs 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing); 7 (Affordable & Clean Energy); 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth); 9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure) and 13 (Climate Action).

The SDI platform focuses on listed shares. PGB currently cannot give an indication of the SDG exposure of its listed equity portfolio.

“Where some investors may sometimes overestimate their impact, PGB perhaps is too modest. That’s why we are looking for a way to measure our contribution to the SDGs in as objective a way as possible. The methodology of the SDI platform provides this. We absolutely want to avoid greenwashing,” said Janssen.

PGB had invested some €1.2bn in investments with a positive impact on society, according to the firm’s 2020 sustainable investment report. The lion’s share of these assets are invested in green bonds (€490m) and sustainable real estate (€562m).

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