Pressure group PAX has claimed that ABP, the €345bn pension fund for Dutch civil servants, still has nearly €1bn invested in companies involved in some capacity with the making of nuclear weapons.
The organisation, formerly known as Pax Christi, said ABP’s holdings were “indefensible”, as a survey in 2014 commissioned by television programme Een Vandaag suggested more than 60% of ABP’s participants had “issues” with such investments.
Apart from ABP, the Shell Pensioenfonds was the only remaining Dutch scheme with a stake (€53m) in companies involved in the development, manufacture, trade or maintenance of nuclear arms or parts.
A spokesman for ABP stressed that the pension fund’s exposure to nuclear weapons had not been deliberate.
“We invest, for example in US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and in US firm Honeywell, which produce climate systems but are, however, also involved in nuclear arms,” he said.
He pointed out that ABP followed the Dutch government’s policy, based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which allows five countries, including the US, to have nuclear weapons.
Speaking on a recent radio programme, ABP chair Corien Wortmann-Kool rejected PAX’s analysis, highlighting that Boeing also invested in sustainable flying.
She also pointed out, however, that companies such as Boeing and Honeywell would have to apply for continued investment by ABP, as part of the review of the pension fund’s entire portfolio for sustainability.
Earlier this year, ABP excluded Indian companies Walchandnagar and Larsen & Toubro from investment, divesting from the latter firm, as they were involved in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons for India.
In the opinion of PAX, an entire company should be excluded from investment, even if only a small part of operations is involved in the manufacture of nuclear arms, and argued that Dutch pension funds should divest from Finmeccanica, Raytheon, Airbus, BAE Systems and Safran.
According to the pressure group, among Dutch institutional investors, Aegon and ING currently have the highest exposures to nuclear weapons, at €695m and €409m, respectively.