Message from the Executive Board about ABP investment policy
Dutch universities have received letters from various interest groups including the Young Academy and Scientists4future regarding the ABP's investment policy such as in fossil fuels and its consequences (deforestation for example). In a response, the Executive Board addresses these questions.
Earlier, students of University Rebellion Netherlands organized a campaign on campus to draw attention to the fossil fuel industry. The Board invited them for a meeting, during which the role of the university was also discussed. Scientists in Delft and Wageningen have started their own initiative towards the ABP and University Rebellion has blocked the VSNU building in The Hague, partly because of investments in fossil industries.
All of these interest groups are asking the universities to put pressure on the ABP to reduce investments in fossil fuels (at all universities) and the meat industry (at WUR) in order to adopt a more sustainable investment policy.
In 2018, a number of directors from the VSNU already had a discussion about the concerns in the sector concerning the investment policy of the ABP. At the time, it was mainly about investments in the tobacco and weapons industries.
The ABP board recently invited the VSNU to a meeting that will soon be held to discuss themes that are important to us. In addition to the consequences of the pension agreement for our sector, the VSNU will also put ABP's investment policy on the agenda. After all, universities have signed up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and ABP's investment policy should be in line with them.
During the meeting of the VSNU's administrative Steering Committee on Business Operations and Finance (SBF) on 16 March, this subject was discussed and a number of VSNU board members stated that they wished to participate in the discussion with ABP on behalf of the VSNU.
The VSNU is aware of the fact that the university sector is only one of the public sectors within ABP. As a sector, we can therefore share our concerns about SRI with the ABP. To exert real pressure, we believe that initiative is also required from other sectors affiliated to ABP (education, local government, central government). The VSNU will therefore urge ZPW (Zelfstandige Publieke Werkgevers, including the VSNU) to join forces with ABP to discuss investment policy.
We will keep you informed of the progress of the talks.