Annual Report 2019
The first year we worked on getting the Agreement up and running, and for the Parties to get to know each other’s processes, working methods, and priorities. We also worked hard towards achieving the first-year targets and I am proud to report that we have in fact achieved them.
A monitoring tool was developed and a baseline assessment was carried out. An independent Monitoring Committee assessed the situation at the start of the Agreement. This baseline assessment allows us to measure progress in future years.
We developed a Toolbox to assist the pension funds in implementing the Agreement in their policies and practice.
Two Cases were selected. These concern two multinational listed companies. The first Case focuses on a mining company and the second on a producer and a buyer of palm oil. The aim is to investigate these Cases and for the Parties to the Agreement to jointly define a strategy to strengthen engagement on the part of the pension funds.
The first annual meeting was held in September, at which the progress of the Agreement was discussed. The pension fund board members, NGOs, trade unions and the Dutch Government discussed freedom of association, defenders of human rights, controversial weapons and the arms trade, children’s rights, climate change, and animal welfare. The Parties also met in various forums throughout the year to work on the objectives of the Agreement.
All these activities are an initial step towards incorporating the OECD Guidelines and the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) into the practice and policies of the pension funds. The pension funds themselves have the most important task in this regard. The Agreement enables them to utilise the knowledge, expertise, and support of NGOs, trade unions, and the Government to improve, accelerate, and enhance their efforts in the field of international responsible investment.
This Annual Report deals with the objectives of the Agreement, the results of the baseline assessment, the Toolbox developed by the Parties, and the Cases. We also look ahead to what we need to do in the second year of the Agreement in order to take the next step. It inspires confidence to be able to say at the end of this first year that we are well on course.
Femke de Vries, independent chair Dutch Pension Funds Agreement on International Responsible Investment