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Umbrella organisations mull ESG platform

NETHERLANDS - VB, OPF and UvB, the three Dutch umbrella organisations for pension providers, are considering launching a platform for pension funds, to deal with social, ethical and environmental issues.

In a new report, entitled De gearriveerde Toekomst ('The Future has arrived'), on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for pension funds, the three organisations suggest  a new platform would be "conceivable" given the recent turbulence surrounding responsible investments of pension funds.

The organisations, which are due to present their report to social affairs' minister Piet Hein Donner in The Hague today, set up a so-called 'practical commission' in April to support pension funds to formulate and execute a policy in the area of responsible investing.

According to the commission, "it is the responsibility of every pension fund management to stipulate [within the framework of the various pension laws and guidelines] how much space it sees for the integration of additional financial aspects in the execution of the investment policy".

The group added it has picked up on various discussions about a framework which, it was suggested, ought to comprise of a few minimal requirements, based on international treaties, codes and guidelines.

Nonetheless, "the commission has decided not to devise a framework itself, but to leave this to the pension funds in line with the view that the board of the fund decides itself, if so, which policy it will conduct", states the report.

That said, the commission is mulling the creation of a future platform, based along the line of the corporate governance platform Eumedion, which could deal with ESG issues.

The report points out, however, the primary responsibility in relation to ESG issues lies not with investors, but with the corporations, governments and project developers in which assets are being invested.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Carolyn Bandel on +44 (0)20 7261 4622 or email carolyn.bandel@ipe.com

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