NETHERLANDS - PGGM, the newly separated manager of the €88bn pension fund Zorg en Welzijn, has hired Mercer to find emerging markets asset managers who incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in their investments.

Else Bos, chief executive of PGGM Investments and former head of ABN Amro Asset Management, confirmed PGGM is looking for emerging market managers as part of the normal growth of their emerging markets investments, but added none had been found yet.

PGGM, which split from the pension fund Zorg en Welzijn (PZW) on January 1 this year but is still responsible for running the fund's assets, has adopted a policy of ESG factors to all its investments.

Else Bos told delegates at the Fortis Pension funds Seminar in Utrecht yesterday the policy means PGGM is "actively looking for investments with a positive social and financial return".

PGGM currently screens all the investments it makes for PZW, so far its only client, on ESG factors.

Additionally, Bos said all new investments are tested in advance on their ESG qualities.

Its new policy recently led to the exclusion of PetroChina from PGGM's portfolio, because the company's involvement in human rights violations in Sudan.

Moreover, Bos said PGGM has excluded airplane producers Boeing and EADS because of their connection to nuclear weapons programmes.

Elsewhere, a spokesman for PGGM has confirmed the manager has halved its exposure to the agricultural sector and will scrap its gold and silver allocations. Moreover, PGGM has increased its exposure to industrial metals and livestock.

"What matters here is the benchmark of commodities, and not the actual market positions," said the spokesman, adding PGGM makes adjustments from time to time to optimise its "commodities basket," he said.

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