Climate plans of large Dutch banks, insurers and pension funds fall seriously short
The climate plans of major Dutch financial institutions such as ING, Nationale Nederlanden and PFZW are seriously lacking. Their current plans are of insufficient quality to demonstrate they are in line with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as agreed in the UN climate agreements of Paris and Glasgow. This is the primary finding from new research published today by Fair Finance Guide Netherlands, which looks at the climate plans of the ten largest Dutch banks, insurers and pension funds.
None of the financial institutions surveyed achieved a pass mark for their climate plan. Achmea, ASR, ABP, ING, PMT and Rabobank scored a 5. ABN Amro, BpfBouw and PFZW obtained a 4 while Hekkensluiter NN Group (Nationale Nederlanden) could achieve a 3.
“In 2019, Dutch financial institutions promised to come up with plans to bring their activities in line with the Paris Climate Agreement,” says Barbara Oosters on behalf of the Fair Finance Guide. “They gave themselves more than three years to do that. Our research shows that the climate plans of the major financial players are still sorely lacking. Minister Kaag previously announced that she will assess the climate plans of the financial sector in 2023 and will not rule out legislation. The time of non-commitment is really over.”
The Fair Finance Guide had the climate plans of the three largest banks (ING, ABN Amro, Rabobank), three largest insurers (Achmea, ASR, NN Group) and four largest pension funds (ABP, PFZW, PMT, BpfBouw) examined by research agency Profundo. The ten largest financial institutions were chosen because of the enormous influence they have on the financing of the energy transition. The research is based on international recommendations for credible climate plans of companies and financial institutions.
Change of course still needed
Although financial institutions publish emission reduction targets for 2030, most do so for a limited number of sectors or for a selection of asset classes. In this way, they only take responsibility for part of their emissions. Only ABP formulates an unambiguous ambition to halve the emissions of all investments in 2030 compared to 2019. Most financial institutions lack short-term objectives. Banks such as ING and ABN Amro have no plans to stop lending money to companies involved in the development of new oil and gas fields. ABP is again the only institution that has announced that it will completely stop investing in oil and gas producers in 2023. Although all financial institutions say that they are open to engaging with their customers on their climate ambitions, less than half have a timeline and concrete goals to achieve these ambitions.
The recently published report by KPMG, which looked at all climate plans of the financial sector, is also critical: targets are difficult to compare due to differences in base year, selective measurement and type of target. KPMG therefore concludes that it is impossible to predict whether their climate actions guarantee that goals will be achieved in 2030.
Time for legislation
Minister Kaag has announced that she will introduce regulations if the financial sector does not make sufficient progress. She specifically mentioned the importance of clear reduction targets for 2030 and a clear explanation of how the policy of a financial institution leads to this emission reduction. Both objectives remain too vague in current climate plans.
“We are pleased that Minister Kaag confirmed last week that she wants to go a step further, she is considering the introduction of a mandatory climate plan for the financial sector. That is a good step in the right direction, but we do call on the minister to set a clear timeline for this. Our research shows that the financial sector is not making the necessary change quickly enough on its own” says Oosters.
Download the report via this link.
Contact person: Jules van Os, press officer Oxfam Novib: 0651573683
- The Fair Finance Guide, consisting of the Fair Bank Guide, the Fair Insurance Guide and the Fair Pension Guide, is a partnership of Amnesty International, Milieudefensie, Oxfam Novib, PAX and World Animal Protection.
- The research was carried out by Profundo.
- At https://www.eerlijkegeldwijzer.nl/, consumers can view the scores of the banks, compare insurers and pension funds for their investment policy and investment practice. They can also take action, for example by sending a complaint or compliment.