As a pension provider, we are focused on returns, but also on our contribution to society and sustainability in the broadest sense. Because pensions are ultimately about people, about life, and about living together in society.
To us, sustainable returns are at least equally important as financial returns. They go hand in hand, you cannot have one without the other.
Building a sustainable future for current and future generations is APG’s overriding goal. Sustainability is a given for APG, in what we do, in who we are, and in how we contribute to a sustainable living environment. The way we see it, sustainability is all about “living together sustainably.” But how do we give actual substance to this? We do that by going by four pillars. The first two are about how we intend to work on a fair, social, and sustainable pension system and our role as a responsible investor. The other two concern a more sustainable future for the Netherlands and how we make APG itself a company with sustainable practices.
Contributing ideas and actions for a sustainable pension system
Drawing on our wealth of expertise and skills, we dedicate ourselves to our core business and improving our performance every day. Both for employers and the members and beneficiaries of the pension funds we work for. We want to make life easier for them and keep them up to date on upcoming changes to the pension system. Aside from that, we are committed to harnessing our nearly 100 years of experience to help build a new, fair, collective, and social pension system. A system where pensions are a substantial part of people’s income today, tomorrow, and beyond. For our parents, for ourselves, and for our children. We want to make pensions more transparent and explain what you as a citizen can expect and what options you have.
We believe in responsible investing
The investments we make on behalf of the pension funds we work for have great impact worldwide. We use our insights to influence the rules of the game by making conscientious, sustainable choices in our investment policy - in close correlation with our choices with respect to returns and risks. For details of our responsible investment practices, please take a look at our responsible investment report. We are proud of the leading position that we, together with the pension funds, have achieved (worldwide) as a responsible investor and want to inspire other parties with our success. Our focus in this respect is on companies with excellent performance and on continuing to pioneer the further development of a standard for sustainable investment. Sustainable investments are investments that contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. After all, to stand still is to go backwards.
Contributing to the Netherlands’ sustainability transition
Our country is facing major challenges in areas such as the climate, health care, housing, and infrastructure. Over the coming years, the Netherlands is going to have to invest heavily to ensure a society that also guarantees maximum quality of life for future generations. APG wants to use its expertise and skills to help make that happen. We want to play an active role in the Netherlands’ sustainability transition. In fact, we consider this our duty. The fact that we manage hundreds of billions of euros in pension capital is not only a major responsibility, it also gives APG great clout.
And so, we support pension funds in their investments in areas such as the energy transition, infrastructure, and real estate. Where possible, we take active part in sustainable developments close to home. Our use of pension capital makes a twofold difference to Dutch society in that it offers solid returns and is futureproof.
Working sustainably: practice what you preach
What all APG employees have in common is that they want to contribute to a sustainable world with good quality of life. In fact, we see that as our duty. It is, therefore, only logical that we also take a critical look at our own practices. And that we meet the same strict sustainability requirements that we set others. Requirements relating to waste, food, energy consumption, mobility, diversity, and inclusiveness. These are all things we want to be even more conscientious about than we already are.
And so, we continue to work hard on our own internal sustainability transition here at APG. In 2021, staff currently working at two APG sites in Amsterdam will move into a single fully carbon-neutral building: EDGE Amsterdam West (with BREEAM Outstanding certificate). And we are working towards carbon neutrality for our Heerlen offices as well.
We are going to considerably reduce our carbon footprint. Ways in which we intend to do so include procuring more green power, recycling our waste, and cutting our energy consumption. One important factor in decarbonizing our operations is to take a critical look at our workers’ transport movements: reduce travel between our offices, work from home more whenever possible, and when travel is inevitable, public transport and cycling are the preferred options. On top of that, we are currently looking into ways to make our fleet of company-leased cars more sustainable.
Also in our contacts with clients and suppliers, we are making the aspect of sustainability an increasingly important factor. Our enormous scale gives us the kind of clout that allows us to exert real influence in this respect. And so that is exactly what we do. We ask our suppliers to commit to meeting standards of environmental protection and corporate social responsibility. Also when it comes to choosing new products and suppliers, this is a factor we look at. In our HR policy, we pursue sustainable employee recruitment and retention practices geared towards building a diverse and inclusive culture where every employee can feel at home and be themselves.
As testimony to how serious we are taking this, we have joined several sustainability and diversity initiatives such as the Anders Reizen coalition that seeks to revolutionize the daily commute, the Dutch Climate Roundtable (KlimaatTafel Financiering), the Talent naar de Top initiative to boost diversity and inclusiveness in the higher echelons of corporate management, and Diversity at Work.
We firmly believe that a focus on people and the planet in our operations contributes positively to our company’s performance.