By investing their assets, pension funds can exert influence worldwide, for example in relation to human rights and the environment. In order to exert that influence more efficiently, a better understanding of the risks in the global investment chain and cooperation with local partners are required. 73 Funds, which together represent 1179 billion euros in invested assets, are signing the agreement today for this purpose. TKP Investments, part of Aegon Asset Management, was actively involved in the realisation of this agreement.
Funds increase understanding of risks
By clearly identifying – on the basis of UNGPs and OECD guidelines – worldwide risks and negative impacts from investments, pension funds will gain a clearer picture of the places where risks and impacts occur relating to human rights violations or environmental damage, for example. With this information, they can reduce risks and exert their influence to solve problems. They can make use of the knowledge and experience of the other parties to the agreement and their local partners to do this.
Projects relating to human and labour rights
Under the agreement, parties will work together on six projects in which cooperation can increase the influence of pension funds. The first case will be made known in January.
Broad support for the agreement
Three ministries, six NGOs and three trade unions are signing this agreement, giving it broad support.
In addition to the 73 pension funds and the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds [Pensioenfederatie], signatories include the NGOs Oxfam Novib, PAX, Amnesty International Netherlands, Save the Children Netherlands, World Animal Protection and Natuur & Milieu [Nature & The Environment]; the trade unions FNV (Dutch Federation of Trade Unions), CNV (National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands) and VCP (Trade union federation for Professionals); and Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees.
Dutch pensions sector
Pension funds together invest around 1340 billion euros. This is money from participants in pension funds, who ensure that the assets increase to provide good pensions to their members. Within the pensions sector, 73 funds are signatories to the agreement and together they represent 1179 billion euros of managed assets. There is great diversity among funds, and organisations vary hugely in size and influence. In this agreement, the funds join forces with public authorities, trade unions and NGOs to exert a positive influence worldwide.
TKP Investments supports their clients in the implementation of this agreement
TKP Investments actively supports the direction chosen in this agreement. Internationally socially responsible investing, a thorough ESG policy and the application of international standards such as the OECD guidelines are becoming increasingly important for institutional investors. This applies not only when making investment decisions, but also for the timely assessment of any negative effects of an investment on society or the environment. TKP Investments fully supports their clients in the implementation of the agreement within their investment portfolio.
Eight agreements signed
The agreement was arrived at with guidance from the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER). With this new agreement, signatories will work within the financial sector on international responsible investment. Earlier agreements have been reached with banks and insurers.
Agreements on International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) have also been signed in the sectors Sustainable Garments and Textile, Sustainable Forestry, Vegetable protein, the Gold Sector and Food Products Sector. A total of eight agreements have now been signed. Talks are still continuing in, among others, the Natural Stone, Floriculture and Metallurgy sectors. For a comprehensive overview, go to www.imvoconvenanten.nl.
Agreement in English
A translation of the official Dutch version of the agreement is available in English*.
*In case of doubts about the accuracy or interpretation of the English translation, the Dutch version prevails.