Annual Report 2019
Objectives of the Agreement
The Dutch Pension Funds Agreement on International Responsible Investment was signed on 20 December 2018 by 73 pension funds, the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds, six NGOs, three trade unions, and three ministries. During the first year, the number of signatory pension funds increased to 81. These funds together account for some 1200 billion euros of invested assets, i.e. 90 percent of the total assets invested by Dutch pension funds.
The objective of the Agreement is for the Parties to prevent and tackle the adverse social and environmental impact of investments by pension funds. In doing so, the funds make use of the knowledge and experience of the Government, NGOs, and trade unions within the Netherlands and of the (local) partners of those Parties. This gives the funds a better understanding of where risks may occur – for example human rights violations or environmental damage – and enables them to use their leverage so as to solve problems and mitigate risks. The ultimate aim is for this to have an effect on the practices of the companies in which they invest.
A “Wide Track” and a “Deep Track”
The Agreement has a “Wide Track” and a “Deep Track”. The Wide Track concerns the entire pension sector. Its aim is for all the Dutch pension funds to adopt an approach to speed up implementation of the OECD Guidelines and the UNGPs.
They will work with the Government, trade unions, and NGOs on specific Cases: A Case may be an individual company or a sub-sector of companies within a specific country that the Parties have prioritised on the basis of the selection criteria.
Implementation of the Agreement is guided by a Steering Committee on which the four Delegations are represented. There is also an independent Monitoring Committee that annually monitors the progress made on implementation. It consists of three experts, Kees Gootjes, Udeke Huiskamp, and Alfred Slager. The Social and Economic Council (the SER), as an independent party, runs the secretariat.
FNV manager, member of the Steering Committee
“The Steering Committee monitors all aspects of the Agreement. We note that all the working groups have worked hard over the past year and that we are taking significant steps towards implementing the agreed provisions. In the long run this will certainly lead to ‘impact on the ground’, which is what it’s ultimately all about.”
Shaktie Rambaran Mishre,
chair of the Board of the Federation
of the Dutch Pension Funds
“We got off to a good start this first year. For example, there was an inspiring first theme meeting on International Responsible Investment, with trade unions and NGOs, to deal with theme-oriented policy, and we made plans to further support the pension funds in 2020 with implementation of the provisions of the Agreement. This in follow-up of the Toolbox that was developed in 2019.”
director of World Animal Protection
“It’s good to see how much work has been done in the first year, for example in creating the Toolbox. It’s now important to put theory into actual practice. In that regard, NGOs and pension funds can learn a lot from one another, as we already saw at the responsible investment theme meeting organised by the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds last September. If we work together in a ‘hands on manner’, we’ll be able to make a difference for people, animals, and the environment in 2020.”