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While anyone can make a difference in how we humans approach the climate and the environment, the world’s major corporations are the ones with the greatest impact. What requirements do we set when it comes to the environmental policy of the companies in which we invest? Or for the way they process waste? How do we promote a climate-driven and circular mindset? Read this section for answers to these questions.

Collection Contents
27 Publications

“We can still make it, but we'll have to work hard.”

Published on: 13 August 2021

The report by the United Nations’ IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, underscores the rapid, human-induced increase of global warming. If we don't take action now, temperatures could rise by nearly six degrees Celsius towards the end of this century. If we do act now, the goals of the Paris Agreement are still achievable. Large companies and investors can make a difference. The question is: Are we currently doing enough to turn the tide? According to Joost Slabbekoorn, senior responsible investment & governance manager at APG, at least we're on the right track. “We have long seen the need to take action and that's exactly what we're doing."


The conclusions drawn by the UN report don't really tell us something new: Humans “unequivocally” play a role in climate change, the earth has warmed by more than 1 degree in 100 years (much faster than before), the effects of climate change are felt all over the world, and temperatures will definitely continue to rise in the next 30 years. Whether that's by 1.5 degrees in the best-case scenario or 5.7 degrees in the worst-case scenario depends entirely on the actions we take globally.


Reassessing policies

“Yes, the IPCC report makes for very uncomfortable reading," says Slabbekoorn, the person who, together with his team, is responsible for implementing sustainable and responsible investment policy for the ABP pension fund, among others. “But actually, we already knew that things haven't been going well." We have known about climate change for some time. It's with good reason that our focus has grown substantially in recent years in terms of sustainable and responsible investment policies for fund clients such as ABP. But sometimes you know that our approach must and can be more effective, says Slabbekoorn. Conclusions such as those drawn by the IPCC report may then actually be decisive for revising policy. "That's what ABP did recently. We realized that accelerating the energy transition is the only option – and current policies do not adequately make that happen. That's why we’re setting our climate ambitions higher in 2022." ABP is taking this issue very seriously. A panel of scientists at universities is helping us create these improved policies. 


Fossil fuel

In addition, APG, along with 32 other large investors, collaborated on the “Net Zero Investment Framework” – a framework that provides guidance on how to tackle climate change. “It's exactly these types of initiatives – as well as our engagement efforts – that allow us to contribute to a liveable world by using our influence as investors to encourage companies to make more sustainable decisions.” But as Slabbekoorn emphasizes, one doesn't make an impact on their own. “As an influential pension investor, I think we have an obligation to do everything within our power. But everyone must do their part.” One option that climate organizations often propose is moving away from investments in fossil fuels. Does the IPCC report mean that APG will advise its clients to completely stop investing in fossil fuels? "Not necessarily," says Slabbekoorn “Ideally, the fossil fuel industry also needs to be part of the solution. But oil and energy companies will need to accelerate their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy in the coming years. We are paying close attention to their actions in this regard. If things aren't moving fast enough for us, or we lose confidence, we will stop investing in fossil fuels.”


Mapping out risks

One of the report's other conclusions is that the effects of climate change can be seen all over the world. The floods in Limburg (the Netherlands), Belgium, and Germany are a case in point, and these sorts of phenomena are also influencing APG's investments. “Changing weather conditions are already impacting our investments. In any case, temperatures will continue to rise. This means that climate change will continue to affect our investments. That's why, for our real estate investments, we're already mapping out risks in case of floods, droughts, forest fires, or rising sea levels. We have also developed a dashboard that shows us the physical risks of climate change by country,” says Slabbekoorn.


Ray of hope

“The report, or rather the report's conclusions, truly impact the way we invest. We are taking the right steps, but there is always room for development," says Slabbekoorn, who, despite the report's bleak message, also sees a ray of hope. “The report also states that we can still meet the climate goals by 2050. But to achieve those, we'll really need to get moving.”

Volgende publicatie:
How do environmental disasters impact real estate investments?

How do environmental disasters impact real estate investments?

Published on: 29 July 2021

Current topics with regard to the economy, responsible investment, pension and income: every week, an expert at APG provides a clear answer to the “Question of the week”. This week: Asset Management professional Steve Goossens discusses the impact of climate change and environmental disasters on real estate investments.


Hundreds of millions of euros: this amount alone represents the damage caused to the city of Valkenburg when the surrounding region was hit by severe floods in mid-July. This says a lot about the total financial impact of the flooding – and environmental disasters in general. Due to climate change, crises like this are becoming more frequent as well as more severe. With all the consequences – and damage – that this entails. To what extent does this affect investments in both the short and long term?


“The impact of climate change on investments is bigger than you might think,” says Goossens, who works in the real estate asset class. And he should know. Together with his team and co-workers from the Responsible Investment Team, he has been focusing on climate-related risks concerning the investments made by APG’s fund clients for more than two years now, primarily for his own department: real estate investments. “If at all possible, the data I collect will also be used in relation to investments in other areas, such as infrastructure.” After all, the impact of natural disasters is not limited to real estate alone. Goossens also examines risks associated with floods, forest fires, droughts, or rising sea levels in relation to real estate, for example. “Look at Amsterdam: droughts have been causing the piles on which the city is built to be exposed above water level for long periods of time. This, in turn, causes the wood to rot and the ground to subside more quickly. This is accompanied by an enormous investment task, which has a direct impact on some real estate investments in Amsterdam and the surrounding area.”


Direct and indirect risks

Goossens distinguishes between two types of risks related to climate change on investments: direct and indirect risks. The subsidence in Amsterdam, the flood damage in Limburg, as well as the devastating effect of forest fires on homes elsewhere in the world are all examples of the direct impact that climate change has on investments. “This is quite easy to explain: investment properties suffer damage and part of the costs in relation to this will always be borne by the investor. That, in turn, affects an investor’s returns: the higher the costs, the lower the return.”


Then there is indirect damage: “When a disaster occurs, stores may need to stay closed or hotels may not be able to receive guests, which brings certain costs with it. A natural disaster may also force people to move. Not only that: insurance contributions, for example, will also be subject to considerable increases in response to environmental disasters, or certain types of environmental disasters will no longer be covered by insurance. Property owners pay the price of this. Insurers, like us, estimate the risk of disasters like these and base their prices on that. You can count on insurance contributions becoming much higher in the future.”

Our calculations allow us to estimate what it will take to meet the goals at individual investment level

Transition risk

Goossens therefore also draws up risk estimates for the investments APG makes for its funds. This is urgently needed, because it enables estimates to be made of the financial consequences of climate change in the longer term. Investors take this into account when estimating the value of an investment. At least as important is what is referred to as the transition risk: “This is the risk of rising costs in response to the energy transition. In other words: what additional investments are needed to achieve the goals of the climate agreement? Better insulation or new heating systems are examples of this. Climate change is causing the Earth to heat up faster. If we want to combat this and limit the ensuing rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees, as stated in the agreement, this will bring certain costs with it.”


Legislation & Regulations

According to Goossens, how much money and which investments are needed in the coming years also depends on legislation and regulations. The requirements set by governments for energy labels is a significant factor in this. “We have no influence on that, but we do know what the ultimate goal is for 2050 and that we need to keep reducing the amount of CO2 we emit.” APG and other large investors have developed the global CRREM standard to measure the transition risk and, in doing so, gain a clear overview of that ultimate goal. This provides insight into whether a real estate investment complies with the Paris Agreement. An office building in the Netherlands complies with the climate agreement if it consumes no more than 14 kWh/m2 of energy, for example. CRREM is stricter with regard to this than the Dutch Green Building Council (the network organization for sustainable construction practices), which applies 50 kWh/m2 as a standard, says Goossens. “Aside from that, the CRREM standard is scientifically substantiated. By applying this standard, we go much further than other organizations in the sector."


“Our calculations allow us to estimate what it will take to meet the goals at individual investment level. We then examine the various aspects involved in relation to our long-term real estate investment plans.” Goossens believes that these additional investments are necessary. “The alternative is that the Earth will heat up by more than 2 degrees and that even more environmental disasters will occur. The damage caused by that is many times greater than the cost of accommodating the energy transition.”

Volgende publicatie:
“Pension funds bear a huge responsibility, for the Netherlands of today and the future”

“Pension funds bear a huge responsibility, for the Netherlands of today and the future”

Published on: 29 July 2021

Annette Mosman took the reins as CEO of APG in March. She is hoping to gain as many inspirational insights as possible in the first months of her new job. That is why she is holding 25 meetings on her hike from Amsterdam to Heerlen. This was a journey through the Netherlands of Tomorrow, with a different person accompanying her on each leg of the trip. Her companions were colleagues, but also people from outside APG, like Tuur Elzinga, chairman of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation.

The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Pink: they all performed here. The Malieveld was their outdoor concert hall. That said, protesting trade unions also regularly take over the “Haagse grasveld,” the famous field in The Hague. There’s no doubt that Tuur Elzinga has also left many footprints in that field. His history with the trade union movement stretches back to 2002, when he was appointed as a policy officer at the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation. Almost twenty years on, he is now chairman of the trade union and employers’ and employees’ organizations since March 10 of this year, to be precise. He also represented the Socialist Party (SP) in the Upper House of the Senate for nine years. This means that he is as familiar with the green polders of the Netherlands as the green benches of the Senate.


Getting fat on the bones

Elzinga believes that things need to change in the Netherlands. In his opinion, the pandemic is a tipping point: the market-driven approach that has gone too far must make way for a revaluation of society. The pandemic has revealed how indispensable certain sectors are to our society, like health care, education and childcare.. “It is precisely those vital sectors that have fallen behind in recent years,” Elzinga reckons. Schools, hospitals and kindergartens have been run like businesses, and cut backs have been the order of the day. This has led to a shortage of ICU capacity, protective equipment and staff during the pandemic. “We need to get fat back on the bones again; we need proper reserves. That may not be very efficient, but it stops the whole of society from grinding to a halt when times get tough.”


Fears for the future 

The pandemic has also widened the gap between the poor – those with few prospects – and the rich. The Netherlands has become more prosperous in recent decades, but not everyone has benefited from this. The flexible labor market has put permanent jobs at risk and wages have not risen enough in line with profits. “Inequality has widened, and imbalances have occurred,” Elzinga tells us. Not to mention the climate crisis, from which there is no escape, both literally and figuratively, as we face extreme weather, forest fires and floods across the planet. Elzinga points out that this leads to unrest. “People are concerned about their own future and that of generations down the line. As a country, your sole aim may be to make as much money as possible, but what kind of home will we be leaving to our children and grandchildren if social cohesion is under pressure and our planet is being eroded?”


Plus another one million permanent jobs

Fortunately, the pandemic has also prompted politicians – from left to right – and some employers to realize that the Netherlands of Tomorrow demands change, believes Elzinga. He believes that we can start rebuilding the country without delay. We already have the blue print: broad-based prosperity for the whole of the Dutch population. That is the approach underlying the Social and Economic Council’s draft advice that trade unions and employers presented together this spring: a package of measures for the new cabinet. First and foremost, the labor market must be reformed: we must return to more permanent contracts, instead of flexible employment. Elzinga would like to see at least another one million permanent jobs. “People need job and income security. They want bread on the table, they must be able to pay the bills and have enough disposable income for their leisure time.”

The climate change price tag

Broad-based prosperity also calls for greater investments in public funds for vital sectors, like health care and education. For example, better terms of employment must stop the trend of having unmotivated employees: it may be more enticing to get out of bed in the mornings and take up the task of teaching if wages rise and work-related pressure is reduced. More must also be invested in the quality of public services, such as the Employee Insurance Agency, the tax authorities – here we have in mind the childcare benefit scandal – and yes, also pension administration. Elzinga says, “Better performance from institutions may also help to close the current gap in confidence.” For the long term, there needs to be substantial investment in tackling climate change. “We have to stop procrastinating and start addressing the issue. The longer we kick the can down the road, the higher the price tag will be.” So we need more funds to accelerate the energy transition, while at the same time being socially accountable by helping people who lose their jobs to get other work.  


Strong government required

Given the long societal wish list, the government can no longer keep its distance, Elzinga believes. Since the eighties, the maxim in The Hague has been: strong market forces, small government. “A market is a good for ensuring that there is enough to round, but you can’t leave everything to market forces,” Elzinga reckons. “We are now faced with the mess that the mantra of liberalization, privatization and deregulation has left us in.” Rebuilding the Netherlands calls for a stronger state, one that actively helps shape the society of the future through public participations and targeted investments, and legislation and regulation must ensure that market participants accept their social responsibility. This need for a government with a firm hand on the rudder does not stop at the borders. For example, Elzinga welcomes the G7 plan for a global minimum tax rate of 15 percent for multinationals. It will make tax avoidance through tax havens more difficult because it will put an end to competition among countries that lure foreign investors by having the lowest tax rates.


Tech giants

It is also crucial to have international regulations that curb the influence of Big Tech and Big Data. Elzinga adds, “Big tech companies are capitalizing on data that we as consumers are producing ourselves. They are using existing digital infrastructure, without giving anything in return.” The same is true of multinationals that are getting patents for innovations that they were not solely responsible for conceiving. After all, their smart employees are educated at publicly funded universities and draw on the body of knowledge that our knowledge-based society has accrued in centuries past-. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. “Data, knowledge, but also for example raw materials and energy sources such as the sun and wind and ultimately our entire planet: it belongs to all of us. What gives a handful of companies the right to claim ownership? Why should managers and shareholders be allowed to become wealthy beyond description from it, while employees and the rest of society have to make do with the crumbs?” says Elzinga.

I hope that one day it will no longer be necessary to strike

“Give employees control”

The pyramid must be turned upside down. That doesn’t call for revolution; instead it calls for a radical change in direction, through gradual, democratic means, according to Elzinga. He believes that the first tentative steps down this new path have been taken. Governments are slowly starting to take back their traditional role, companies are taking more responsibility for their environment and consumers, citizens and major investors are more inclined to hold them to account. The next step is to give employees and society a real say, Elzinga argues. “'Give those people who come up with all those innovative ideas a voice, the ones that do the real work, who are the actual rightful owners of companies’ products and services: all of us, in other words. Who’s the boss? Who decides? As it stands now, they are managers and shareholders; in the future we should all be able to be in charge.”


From shareholder return to social gains

In recent years, Elzinga has been conducting the negotiations for the pension agreement on behalf of employers’ and employees’ organizations of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation. It’s a historic agreement; designed to keep old-age provisions affordable going forward, without abandoning the principle of solidarity. “In the new system, the contributions you have accrued are reflected more directly in your own pension accrual, but we will still ensure that people who are not so fortunate in their careers will also be able to have a good pension, and we will spread the risks across the generations.” That said, Elzinga believes that the pension discussion is far from over. If interest rates remain this low in the coming years and investment returns structurally decline in the future, as predicted, then it will not be possible to keep the promise of an indexed-linked pension and the trust gap in society will widen. Pension funds could then take the next step: from shareholder return to social gains.


Pension benefits in kind? 

Elzinga explains, “Pension funds should examine the needs people have later in life. Do they then only need money? Or would they rather have a nice place to live, good care and quality of life? Invest in that directly as a pension fund; put pension money into new kinds of housing for senior citizens, good care for the elderly and restoring social infrastructure, so that it is to hand when people need it.” This would be a type of pension in kind. And why only invest in provisions for old age? Pension funds can also be used to improve today’s society. Here we have in mind investments in the tight housing market – which mainly affects young generations – or in good education, for a robust Netherlands of Tomorrow. Elzinga adds, “Pension funds have major assets and that means they bear a huge responsibility, for the Netherlands of today and the future.” 


An end to strikes

During the pension agreement negotiations, the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation, together with the National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands and the Trade Union for Professionals, halted train traffic for a day to apply pressure for a slower rise in the state pension age. What does Elzinga think: will there still be strikes in the Netherlands of Tomorrow? “I suspect so. In the meantime, there will be conflicts of interest between employers and their workforces. But I hope that one day it will no longer be necessary to strike: if employees are given a real say, they can be part of the decision-making process and conflicts of interest will become a thing of the past. If you are the boss, there’s no need for you to strike.” So the Malieveld of the future will be solely for the successors of The Stones and Coldplay, in other words: the ultimate festival grounds? Elzinga laughs, “Yes, that’s where we’ll gather to simply have a good time, do stuff we enjoy or celebrate together, for example, the great pension system that we have in the Netherlands.”      

Volgende publicatie:
“Is the EC’s new climate plan bad for the stock market?”

“Is the EC’s new climate plan bad for the stock market?”

Published on: 15 July 2021

Current issues around economics, (responsible) investment, pensions and income: every week an APG expert gives a clear answer to the question of the week. This time: equity investor Martijn Olthof, on the impact of a stricter climate policy and higher carbon prices on the equity markets.


Fit for 55. That’s the name of the plan launched by the European Commission on July 14 to reduce European emissions by 55% by 2030. An important part of that plan is the revision of the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Companies that cause emissions must compensate for them through the purchase of carbon emission rights. They can do this within the ETS.


The general expectation is that Fit for 55 will lead to higher and more widely applied prices for carbon emissions in Europe. To meet the Paris targets, it will have to, despite the large increase we have already seen this year. But higher prices for emissions lead to higher costs for companies. There is speculation here and there that this will lead to falling stock markets. Justified?

Winners and losers

According to Olthof, this reasoning is much too short-sighted. “It's clear that the price of carbon emissions has to go up considerably for it to really make a difference. And in most Paris scenarios that will happen. But you really can’t predict that a rise in the price of carbon will lead to a certain fall in stock markets. It depends on so many more factors. What you will see is that there will be winners and losers among companies.”


Whether a company becomes a “winner” or “loser” depends on a number of factors. “Companies that do not make the switch to zero emissions in time and provide a product for which a more sustainable alternative exists are going to suffer from a high carbon price. Their product will simply be too expensive compared to the alternative. Coal-fired power plants, for example. The customer can also turn to companies that supply green energy, with zero emissions. These energy companies incur fewer costs and can therefore supply their products more cheaply. But if you are a cement company, for example - which causes considerable emissions - there are currently few alternatives for your product. Those kinds of companies can largely pass the cost of a higher carbon price on to the customer. As a result, they suffer less quickly and less directly when emission allowances become more expensive.”        

It is precisely the fossil companies that can benefit from clear policies like Fit for 55


Yet Olthof says it is still difficult to predict exactly which companies will benefit from a high price for carbon emission rights. “There are simply too many uncertainties about how the energy transition will unfold. Whether there is an alternative for a certain product and at what price depends very much on technological developments. It is difficult to predict these in the long term.” 

It may not seem like it at first, but it is precisely the fossil companies that can benefit from clear policies like Fit for 55. The beauty of Fit for 55 is that it offers clarity to many companies that are crying out for these kinds of measures. For example, there will be more support for green fuels. If the carbon price also rises, companies will have a double incentive to produce biokerosene, for example. That is what companies want, because then they know for sure that there is a market for it. Many oil companies also say they are in favor of a high and stable carbon price. Only then will the capture and storage of carbon become profitable. What is needed is a healthy combination of various policy measures. That means, for example, that you require airlines to use a minimum percentage of biokerosene or other green fuel. If you also ensure a higher carbon price, among other things, and apply it more broadly to more sectors, companies will take steps towards new technologies. Because they have more certainty that they will also earn back the large investments required for this.”


Vigorous counter measures

And even if a higher carbon price pushes down stock prices, you can ask how bad that is, Olthof says. “What’s the alternative? If you get catastrophic climate change, or harsh government intervention because the Paris goals are not met, that might be much worse for the stock market. To meet those goals, massive investments are needed. The government must then ensure that it is attractive enough for the private sector to make those investments. With a sharp and clear climate policy, it can ensure that.” 

Volgende publicatie:
APG takes 20% stake in Sweden's largest district heating and cooling supplier

APG takes 20% stake in Sweden's largest district heating and cooling supplier

Published on: 1 July 2021

A consortium led by APG has acquired a 50% interest in Stockholm Exergi Holding AB. With close to 10 TWh in yearly energy sales and an annual turnover of almost €700 million, Stockholm Exergi (700 employees) is the largest supplier of district heating in Sweden. The company is an industry leader in sustainability and has the ambition to become climate positive by 2025.

The consortium also comprises of PGGM, Alecta, Keva and AXA Investment Managers. APG has acquired the 20% stake on behalf of pension fund client ABP, which wants to further shape its climate- and responsible investing ambitions. The consortium has bought the 50% stake from the Finnish energy group Fortum. Stockholm Exergi's 800,000 customers are concentrated in the Stockholm municipality. The remaining 50% stake is owned by the City of Stockholm.


Carlo Maddalena, Senior Portfolio Manager at APG: “The Stockholm Exergi investment is an excellent fit with APG’s infrastructure strategy and with its strong sustainability focus, it is at the core of the energy transition.”

According to Maddalena, Stockholm Exergi's fundamentals are very strong. “High temperature-driven heating requirements in Sweden, an AAA-rated country, cause district heating consumption per capita to be amongst the highest in the European Union. This makes district heating a nationally important core infrastructure for Sweden. In addition, Stockholm Exergi also supplies electricity to the local grid, which resolves many of its current capacity issues. The transaction was a unique opportunity to acquire a leading sizeable utility business in Scandinavia. Investments of this quality are scarce in the region."

International role model

The company's sustainability goals are very ambitious. "Stockholm Exergi has transformed itself to a fossil-free energy supplier and wants to become climate positive by 2025. To this end, it has already developed a number of projects, which are still at an early stage. This strategy is aligned to the commitment of the City of Stockholm towards becoming an international sustainability role model. As such, Stockholm Exergi plays an important role in these local – and national – climate ambitions."

The APG deal team that worked on the transaction was composed of Carlo Maddalena, Bart Saenen, Jan Jacob van Wulfften Palthe, Marjolaine Lopes and Silvan Koortens.


Read the Press Release.

Volgende publicatie:
2020: Pressing ahead with sustainable ambitions

2020: Pressing ahead with sustainable ambitions

Published on: 30 June 2021

APG publishes Responsible Investment Report


In 2020, APG has once again made great strides when it comes to responsible investing. By continuously improving, we can continue to meet the growing sustainable ambitions of our pension funds, as shown in our Responsible Investment Report (Dutch; English version expected in July) published today.


Responsible investing is one of APG’s strategic pillars. In their preface, Annette Mosman (CEO), and Ronald Wuijster (board member responsible for asset management) note that the Covid crisis has accelerated the increased attention for responsible investing. "Not only among NGOs, but also in the media and among the participants of the pension funds for which we work. We listen carefully, because we realize that our right to exist derives from the participants. It is for them that we work towards a good pension."


Investing in sustainable development

By the end of 2020, we had invested over €90 billion on behalf of our pension funds in companies and projects that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These were drawn up by the United Nations in 2015 to create a better and sustainable world. Our pension funds ABP and bpfBOUW both have a target for investing in the SDGs. A significant part of our investments in the SDGs (€12.2 billion) consists of labeled bonds. These are bonds issued by companies, governments and organizations to finance green, social or sustainable projects.


In 2020, APG, together with three international investors, established the SDI Asset Owner Platform to stimulate investing in the Sustainable Development Goals. Our ambition is to make this a global standard. In this way, we - together with other responsible investors - can contribute to goals such as sustainable cities and communities, affordable and clean energy and climate action.


Combating the Covid-crisis

By the end of 2020, APG had invested more than € 1 billion in so-called Covid bonds on behalf of pension fund clients. The proceeds of these bonds are used to combat the pandemic and the impact of the lockdown on people and businesses. Examples include the expansion of health care services, employment retention programs and support for SMEs.

In 2020, we also urged companies – both individually and together with other large investors – to mitigate the social consequences of the crisis and put employees’ health first. According to the U.S. organization Responsible Asset Allocation Initiative, APG is among the global asset managers that do the most to address the effects of the pandemic.


The carbon footprint of our equity investments decreased by 39% against the 2015 base year.

Global warming and the energy transition

The carbon footprint of our equity investments decreased by 39% against the 2015 base year. All our pension funds have a carbon reduction target. This year, for the first time, we also publish the carbon footprint of our corporate bonds, real estate and private equity investments (57% of the total portfolio). By 2022 at the latest, our pension funds will link these to 2030 climate targets. APG has contributed to a framework for reporting carbon impact as well as an overview of methods used by the Dutch financial sector for measuring the carbon footprint.


At the end of 2020, we invested €15.9 billion on behalf of our pension funds in the Sustainable Development Goal 'Affordable and Clean Energy' (SDG 7). By investing in this goal, we reduce climate risks in our investment portfolio and contribute to the energy transition.


Impact on risk and return

In 2020, we developed a method that provides insight into the effect of including (taking sustainability aspects into account in each investment decision) and excluding investments on the return of the equity portfolio. Over the past two years, the effect has been marginally positive. We do note that we can only make statements about the long term if we have measured over a longer period of time. In 2021, we will also develop methods to assess the impact of other instruments for sustainable and responsible investing on risk and return, such as carbon footprint reduction and investing in the SDGs.


Our own business operations

Although APG can achieve the greatest impact with the investments we manage for our pension funds, we also take into account our own business operations. We can only set a high bar for companies in which we invest, if we do the same for ourselves. In this way, we also motivate employees to consider sustainability in their daily work and choices. By 2030, APG wants to have a demonstrably climate-neutral business. In order to enable decision-making on our sustainable ambitions, we will establish a Sustainability Board under the leadership of CEO Annette Mosman. More on this in our annual report.


Sustainable future

APG invests over €570 billion on behalf of its pension fund clients ABP (government and education), bpfBOUW (construction), SPW (housing associations) and PPF APG, the pension fund of our own employees. Our pension funds have strengthened their responsible investing ambitions and objectives. ABP announced its new policy in 2020; bpfBOUW and SPW have recently done so. In line with our clients’ increasing ambitions, APG continues to develop in the area of responsible investing. We want to 'work together on your sustainable future'. A future with a good and affordable pension, in a sustainable, livable and inclusive society. That is what we are committed to, now and in the future.

Volgende publicatie:
“Transition to wood construction won’t happen overnight”

“Transition to wood construction won’t happen overnight”

Published on: 16 June 2021

APG is investing in over eighty thousand hectares of FSC-certified Chilean production forest. How do you arrive at such an investment? What does the market look like? And how does logging relate to sustainability? Six questions for Vittor Cancian, Senior Portfolio Manager Natural Resources at APG.

Why is APG investing in timberland?

“For an investor with sustainability ambitions, timberland is attractive because responsibly managed forests make a demonstrable contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. After all, trees absorb CO2 and FSC-certified timberland contributes to biodiversity.” 

From a return and risk perspective, timberland is a good investment for a pension fund because the return grows with the general price level. It therefore offers a natural hedge against inflation. Pension funds aim to have pensions grow in line with inflation as much as possible. So, it helps if the return on your investments also rises with the general price level.

Another advantage of timberland is that it adds diversification to your overall investment portfolio. The prices do not move much with developments in financial markets, as is the case with shares or bonds. So, if stock markets give slightly lower returns for a while, this need not apply to timberland investments. These two advantages – a hedge against inflation and diversification - also apply to farmland investments, for that matter.

The beauty of timberland is also that, depending on the market price of wood, you can delay or speed up the decision to cut trees. If in a certain year the price of wood is too low, you can wait for a better time to sell. The advantage is that the trees will continue to grow in the meantime, increasing their economic value. Or you can sell sooner if the price is right.


Would it not be even more sustainable to leave those trees growing in the forest?

“We only invest in production forests. That implies that at some point you also decide to cut the trees down. All our investments in timberland are managed in accordance with the FSC or a comparable quality mark. You only get this certification if you manage forests in a sustainable way. This includes the obligation to plant a new tree for every one that you cut down.

An older tree represents a higher economic value than a young tree. In addition, the CO2 absorption of older trees is flattened because they no longer grow as much. So, from a financial point of view, but also looking at the reduced CO2 absorption, it makes sense to cut down these trees and sell the wood.  Young trees, on the other hand, grow fast and need CO2 to do so. Selective felling and replanting therefore keeps the lungs of the earth vital. FSC certification also requires that you take care of biodiversity and pay attention to the social and economic impact on the area in which you operate.”

Wood construction is on the rise. Doesn't that also make a sustainability contribution?

If you start using wood construction as an alternative to concrete and cement, it definitely provides a sustainability advantage. The CO2 absorbed by trees is stored for a long time. The production of concrete and cement, on the other hand, produces a relatively large amount of CO2 emissions. If you really included that in the price, there would be a more financially favorable business case for wood construction.

We are seeing a development to build more with wood. In 2019, the world’s tallest wooden building opened in Norway (the Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal has 18 floors and is 85.4 meters high, ed.). In Amsterdam Oost, Hotel Jakarta is a good example. By 2025, one in five new houses in Amsterdam must be made of wood. But the construction industry is quite conservative.  The transition to more wood and less concrete will not happen overnight.

Exactly what kind of wood are we talking about and where is APG investing?

“In our timberland investments, we are dealing primarily with two wood types: softwood – such as, for example, Radiata Pine in Chile, Australia and New Zealand, and Douglas Fir in the US – and hardwood. The latter is primarily Eucalyptus but also other types, like Black Cherry and American oak for the furniture industry. Softwood is used primarily in construction. Eucalyptus wood is also used in the pulp & paper industry.

Will there be more investments like the one in Chile?

“That is our expectation. We are now moving towards a strategy in which we want to expand the current 1.8 billion Euros in timberland and agriculture to 3-5 billion Euros. The rest of the Natural Resources portfolio will gradually be phased out in a responsible way.

To find these kinds of investments, we doubled our team. These new people are based in Hong Kong or New York. It is important that they are close to the market. They have to feel the local dynamics and have their own local network. This is not only important for selecting the right investments, but it is also easier to manage such investments if you are close by. COVID-19 makes this a little more difficult at the moment, but we normally always go and have a look on site if we have our eye on an investment such as in Chile. We want to see the organization, the management and all the other aspects you want to assess to see what we are getting into.”

One of APG's co-investors in the Chilean forest said he had been looking for a promising investment of this size for almost a decade. Is there enough timberland to be found that meets your requirements, to be able to invest those extra billions?

“Yes, but opportunities to invest in timberland and access to the market vary from country to country. Australia and New Zealand, for example, have a well-developed timberland sector, with sufficient scope. Those markets are easily accessible for an investor and offer enough opportunities. In other countries it is a bit more difficult because the markets there are not yet so developed. In countries like that you often have to be more proactive and create a certain structure in order to be able to invest in timberland. Our investment in Chile is a good example. Together with two other parties, we set up a joint venture that acquired this production forest from Arauco.

Chile also has a well-developed timberland sector, but it is mainly owned by a few large companies that supply wood products to the construction industry - for example, MDF or OSB (both pressed from residual wood, ed.). To be assured of sufficient wood for their production, they also want to own the forests. So, they are reluctant to sell them. Arauco is one of those companies. But now the situation arises that these companies need capital to further invest in new production facilities. In order to get that, they sell sections of their forests to large institutional investors - often with the obligation to deliver a certain part of the wood to them annually. At the prevailing market price, of course. A great opportunity, in other words. The scope - this joint venture will be Chile’s third-largest timber producer - and the quality of the FSC forests Arauco have brought to the market are special, so the competition for this transaction was fierce. APG started investing in timberland back in 2007 so we are experienced in this sector by now. The same goes for our partners. We were therefore able to form a strong consortium fairly quickly and strike while the iron was hot.”

Volgende publicatie:
“Now that I know you people, I don’t think of pensions as boring at all anymore”

“Now that I know you people, I don’t think of pensions as boring at all anymore”

Published on: 11 June 2021

Imagine: you are 14 years old and get the opportunity to take the reins at APG for half a day. Chayma Charafi, a student at Sintermeertencollege in Heerlen, seized that opportunity with both hands. As part of the national initiative “Tomorrow’s Boss”, Growth Factory “boss” Anne-Marie Le Doux handed over her chair to Chayma. Virtually, that is. But it didn’t make the day any less special. And instructive, for APG too. “We can seriously learn a lot from how young people view pensions.”


“Now that I’ve gotten to know a few of the people that work here, I no longer think of pensions as boring,” Chayma exclaims enthusiastically at the end of the morning program. A nice by-product of the assignment that morning: finding an answer to the question of how APG can make the learning programs on complex issues such as pensions and investments more attractive to young employees. Anne-Marie Le Doux and some other coworkers are helping Chayma this morning to make her temporary new role as memorable as possible.


More images, less text

“I expect to learn a lot today and am looking forward to it,” Chayma posted on APG’s Facebook and Linkedin account in the morning. And that mission seems to have succeeded. In fact, Chayma is also teaching APG a lot. In her presentation, she comes up with a number of apt recommendations to better reach young APG employees. “Use more images and less text. I’m seeing this in the teaching materials at our school, too. We enjoy watching interesting videos with a good storyline much more than having to read a long, boring piece of text.” This is a big eye-opener for the people Chayma hangs out with that morning. Anne-Marie: “That really is today’s theme: if you make learning fun, it also gets absorbed better. At APG we are sometimes inclined to take our work far too seriously. And that is reflected in the way we communicate about it or provide information. Chayma makes us realize that it is not effective to make things too heavy. Because in learning programs for young employees, they just don’t even absorb that.”

Colleagues in videos

Other recommendations from the student? “Make more use of social media to refer to interesting information or channels. It’s really not a bad thing if it’s not all created by APG itself, but I do think it’s a good idea to have employees who have a lot of knowledge about pensions and investing tell you about it in videos.” Birte van Ouwerkerk, who helped with the presentation, notes that Chayma’s generation thinks much more in images. “We still need to create that image in our minds, whereas young people, they just get it right away. That’s very valuable.” 



As Chayma talks, you can see the people she worked with smile. Raban van Deursen: “We can seriously learn a lot by looking at our work through the eyes of a 14-year-old. When we asked Chayma how young people would look at retirement, her immediate response was: have you asked them yourself?” Ronald van Hengel was also impressed by the young boss’ analyses that morning: “Young people really have a different outlook. Sharper even. And that keeps us alert. I’m impressed by how quickly she understood the ‘problem’ and went to work on it.”

Get to work

Tomorrow’s Boss is an initiative by JINC for schoolchildren from disadvantaged neighborhoods who could use a helping hand to get a fair(er) chance on the labor market. According to Anne-Marie, Chayma doesn’t really need that support: “I met Chayma a few times before and got to know her as a super enterprising type. She just gets to work and gets things done! We adults can also learn something from that.”

Being educational is great, of course, but what is the real point of Tomorrow’s Boss? Being the boss of course! Did you enjoy that? “I think it worked out quite well to be in charge. I was able to come up with my own ideas and also implement them,” Chayma says. When asked if she will be working at APG soon? “Who knows. Someday.”

Right now, the focus is on the things that really matter to a teenager: taking pictures, playing sports and having dinner with girlfriends. Right you are, Chayma.

Volgende publicatie:
APG supports Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF)

APG supports Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF)

Published on: 4 March 2021

Cooperation aims to contribute to restoring biodiversity


APG – on behalf of its pension fund clients – supports the Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Professionals (PBAF). The financial institutions in this partnership will develop a shared methodology for measuring and reporting the impact of their investments on biodiversity. Through their investments these financial institutions can take targeted action to protect biodiversity.

PBAF is an initiative of ASN Bank and a number of founding partners. Today it was announced that fifteen more financial institutions have either joined the platform or expressed their support. Their shared ambition is to measure their impact on biodiversity, be transparent about their impact reporting and to set targets to improve their ecological footprint.

Joint approach

Roel Nozeman, Senior Advisor Biodiversity at ASN Bank and chairman of the partnership, is excited about the new partners joining the platform. “A growing number of financial institutions realize that loss of biodiversity poses a major threat both to society and to the economy, and that we need action now. Through our investments, we can limit the damage to ecosystems and contribute to the protection and restoration of nature. To do so, we have to adopt a common approach to measuring our impact and using data. We will join hands with all new partners to continue developing that common approach.”

Biodiversity loss
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth and to ecosystems, i.e. the systems that sustain this life, such as forests, soils and oceans. As it stands, the planet’s biodiversity is rapidly declining. This is bad news for nature but also for our future prosperity. Many economic sectors are dependent on the variety of plants, animals and insects in the world, either directly or indirectly. Examples are agriculture and fishing, but also (chemical) industries, real estate and transport. 

Volgende publicatie:
APG sells Korean energy giant due to coal expansion

APG sells Korean energy giant due to coal expansion

Published on: 29 January 2021

APG has sold the South Korean utility KEPCO. Despite our strong objections, the company continued to plan for new coal-fired power plants. In 2020, APG sold its stake in eight companies because they had plans for new or larger coal-fired power plants.

APG decided to sell its stake in Korean Electricity Power Company (KEPCO) after the company gave the green light to the construction of new coal-fired power plants in Indonesia and Vietnam. In line with the sustainable ambitions and goals of its pension fund clients, APG strongly opposed this plan. Companies need to stop planning new coal-fired power stations and to develop a strategy to greatly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Sustainability specialist Yoo-Kyung (YK) Park of APG Asset Management says it is 'disappointing' that KEPCO has not canceled its expansion plans. ‘The decision on the new coal-fired power plants was a litmus test for the company’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and join global efforts to combat climate change. The construction of these coal-fired power plants deepens the climate crisis and worsens the company's profitability in the long run'.

Pulling out all the stops

On behalf of its pension fund clients, APG usually first engages with companies that have plans for new coal-fired power stations. That’s also what happened at KEPCO. YK: ‘We pulled out all the stops to change the company’s mind. We wrote letters to management, increased the pressure in the media and worked together with civic organizations. Because 51% of KEPCO is owned by the Korean government, we also liaised with other investors to approach the government on its responsibility. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out’.

Coal accounts for 38% (Netherlands 9%) of electricity generated worldwide. Burning coal leads to relatively high GHG-emissions, in particular CO2. The vast majority of coal-fired power stations are located in Asia. The growing economies in the region are making extensive use of coal-fired power plants to meet their increasing need for electricity. In the US and Europe, the importance of coal-fired electricity is declining sharply.

We pulled out all the stops to change the company’s mind.

Exit due to coal expansion

Including KEPCO, APG sold eight companies with more than 90 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity in 2020 because they had plans to expand coal-fired power stations. The total annual CO2-emissions of these companies - all located in Asia - is 624 million tons.

Earlier, investors including APG succeeded in persuading a number of large financial institutions in South Korea to stop financing new coal-fired power plants and to sharpen their climate ambitions. That’s an important step, YK says. ‘South Korea is a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement. But despite many promises, the country is still one of world’s largest carbon emitters . Through pressure on the financiers of coal-fired power plants, we are trying to change that’.

Climate neutral in 2050

APG’s largest client, civil service pension fund ABP, aims for a climate neutral portfolio by 2050, in line with the Paris climate agreement. This means that CO2 emissions related to the investments are to be reduced to net zero. ABP’s responsible investment policy includes targets that work towards this ambition (including phase out of coal mines and tar sands by 2025, no direct investments in coal for the production of electricity without carbon capture in OECD countries by 2030, and investing € 15 billion in the Sustainable Development Goal ‘Affordable & clean energy’). APG’s other asset management clients - bpfBOUW, SPW and PPF APG – also have climate targets, including a 40% reduction of their portfolios’ carbon footprint by 2025 (compared to 2015).

Volgende publicatie:
APG climate neutral by 2030

APG climate neutral by 2030

Published on: 1 December 2020

Pension provider wants to be the best in class in sustainability


APG has made the commitment to be "best in class" in the field of sustainability. To give substance to this a number of steps will be taken in the coming years. For example, there is a CO2 reduction plan with the aim of having APG demonstrably climate-neutral operations by 2030.


There will also be an approach to sustainable purchasing and a Sustainability Board. This borad prepares the many decisions that will be needed in the near future to fulfill the sustainability ambition.

Livable world

APG takes these steps for people, the environment and society, explains Sustainability Office Loek Dalmeijer. “We want our pension participants to live in good health in a sustainable society in which they can be an integral part.”APGdoes this through the investments we make on behalf of the funds, but also by making our own business operations more sustainable and more inclusive and by taking responsibility in our supply chain.



“Our building in Amsterdam (Edge West) will receive the highest possible sustainability standard and work is also being done on sustainability in Heerlen”, explains Dalmeijer de current situation at APG. “We have achieved the target for 2020, set in 2018, to at least meet the requirements that we as an investor set for our investments. APG has also caught up on sustainable business operations, diversity & inclusion and mobility. But that doesn't mean we're there yet.”


From the inside

If you want to be best in class, you really have to be the front runner. This means that "people, the environment and society" must be part of every decision we make. Is that not possible within your work or department? Then get help to remove the barriers that lie there. A Sustainability Office was recently set up for this purpose under the leadership of Loek Dalmeijer.



There are already many initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint. We bundle these and go one step further. “First of all, we are working towards energy-neutral accommodation. The move to Basisweg 10 is an important step in this. We are also investigating whether we can get rid of gas in Heerlen and we will soon determine the requirements that we will set for our offices in New York and Hong Kong.”


“Second, we will do everything we can to reduce CO2 emissions caused by transport movements. We are making environmentally friendly travel more attractive, flying less and investigating whether we can fly on more sustainable biokerosene for the flights that are really necessary.


Third, we involve our suppliers and colleagues in this objective. Because reducing CO2 emissions from our paper consumption, or that is caused by not properly separating our waste for reuse, is only possible if everyone makes a contribution. As a final step, we will continue to offset our remaining emissions. This share will decrease, if we are successful on the various measures.”

Volgende publicatie:
“Everyone here has the same goal: a climate-neutral economy”

“Everyone here has the same goal: a climate-neutral economy”

Published on: 26 November 2020

Investing in fossil energy: for how long? That was one of the themes during the investor panel at BRN Zakendoen this week. According to Thijs Knaap, senior strategist at APG Asset Management, it is neither realistic nor sensible for a pension fund such as ABP (with APG as administrator) to leave fossil fuels in the short term. Because: "It is better to have a Dutch pension fund at the table than a shareholder who is less concerned with the environment."


Moreover, it is also unrealistic for economic reasons. 80 percent of the economy obtains energy directly or indirectly from those fossil fuels. We are in a transition to something that is not yet there. "Should you stop investing in airports, trucks?"

Knaap emphasized that ABP listens very carefully to the participants. “We share the concerns. ABP has a solid sustainable investment policy. And everyone has the same long-term goal: a climate-neutral economy.”

The comparison with the divestment of 4 billion euros in fossil fuels recently announced by the PFZW pension fund is flawed, says Knaap. “That is about futures trading. Not about stocks. That's a different strategy.”


Labeled bonds

In addition to investments in fossil fuels, there was also talk of an interesting new trend in investor circles: the so-called "labeled bonds". According to Knaap, 2020 is “a good year for bonds like this. Bonds usually don't have much movement; they are a kind of tradable debt. But there are bonds with a label, where the person who issues them determines in advance what they should be spent on. For green or social goals, for example. Those labels are becoming popular, with € 304 billion already spent this year. More than in 2019. ”

Knaap referred to the so-called SURE Bonds that are issued by the EU. They are used to protect jobs within the EU. APG recently invested 170 million euros in these SURE bonds. Knaap: “It is an interesting development, because the investor in debt, which is normally a remote investor, has more and more influence on policy. Because he or she can choose to put the correct labels on his bonds.” He cites the ECB as an example. “Previously, the ECB bought bonds and that was a neutral monetary operation. But you see that more and more labeled bonds are being bought there too. From the right parties with the right labels. In this way, investors have a little influence on what happens in the world.”

Volgende publicatie:
International recognition for APG’s climate reporting

International recognition for APG’s climate reporting

Published on: 5 October 2020

APG Asset Management in Leaders Group of Principles for Responsible Investment


Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has recognized APG Asset Management as one of the leaders in responsible investing. Including APG AM in its 2020 Leaders’ Group, PRI specifically acknowledges APG’s excellent disclosure and advanced efforts in climate reporting.


APG has been reporting on climate risks and opportunities for years, in line with the recommendations of the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). “For our clients, we work to achieve targets such as carbon reduction and investments in SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy,” says Joost Slabbekoorn, Responsible Investment Specialist at APG AM.  “Being included in the PRI 2020 Leaders’ Group is an important acknowledgement of our work.”


Climate reporting

Launched in 2006, PRI is a global association of over 3,000 asset owners, asset managers and companies that seek to promote responsible investing. Every year, PRI identifies a group of leaders (not ranked) in a specific area of responsible investing. This year’s theme is climate reporting. The 2020 Leaders Group consists of 36 asset owners and investment managers.  


PRI chose the climate reporting theme as many of its signatories consider climate change to be one of the most material ESG risks. “As climate-related risks and opportunities are set to grow in the coming years, it is increasingly important for investors to incorporate them into their view of the future,” says Slabbekoorn. To assess signatories’ climate work, PRI examined, among other things, whether they have a board-approved implementation plan to manage material climate risks and opportunities, how they use scenario analysis and whether they are working towards specific climate-related targets.


Inspiring peers to raise the bar

With the selection of the Leaders Group, PRI aims to inspire other signatories to follow the leaders’ best practices. “I congratulate APG Asset Management for qualifying for the 2020 Leaders’ Group, and recognize your excellent disclosure and advanced efforts in climate reporting,” says Fiona Reynolds, PRI’s CEO. “I hope this recognition can help APG Asset Management and our entire signatory base to keep raising the bar in responsible investment.”


Read more in the PRI 2020 Leaders’ Group report.

More information on APG’s climate work can be found in our Verslag Verantwoord Beleggen​​​.

Volgende publicatie:
APG sets the bar high with WELL for well-being and health in offices

APG sets the bar high with WELL for well-being and health in offices

Published on: 29 June 2020

APG increases its ambition significantly, not only in terms of sustainability but also in the field of healthy office buildings for APG employees: both at the new premises in Amsterdam and in Heerlen.


The person entering the new premises of APG “Edge West” at the Basisweg 10 will immediately notice it: stairs. Not tucked away somewhere in a draughty staircase like in many offices, but in plain sight which implicitly says: “We are going to skip the elevator for today”. The daylight shining through the glass roof provides a bright-green color to the large trees and living walls. Water taps are to be found within a range of thirty meters on the APG office floors. Standing tables are placed here and there, tempting you to get out of your office chair once in a while.


Health and well-being at the office continue to be important themes for APG. Even now the workplace at home has proven its worth as an alternative due to corona. Marga Petridean, Facility Service contract manager housing at APG: “What we have learned from the corona crisis, is that working from home may be a good alternative, but also that the office continues to be an important place to come together and to get inspired. One thing we know for certain at APG: once the employees return to the office, health and well-being are paramount. A healthy and pleasant working environment contributes to the well-being of our colleagues and ensures for people to be happy to work at APG.”


The themes are taken very seriously by APG, according to Marga. A number of years ago, a certificate for well-being and health was introduced: the WELL Building Standard. Marga: “The design of our renewed office in Amsterdam makes us aim for the so-called WELL Gold certificate for the interior, in addition to the WELL Platinum certificate for the building shell which will be awarded to Edge West as one of the few offices in the Netherlands.”

After publishing this article, APG came to the realization that to achieve a healthy working environment in line with APG's vision it is sufficient to operate the interior WELL guidelines for our office buildings in Amsterdam and Heerlen without gaining certification. APG none the less acknowledges the value of the WELL standard and will continue to pursue it, but no longer with the ultimate goal of obtaining the certificate. However, it remains the intention to obtain the WELL platinum certificate for the shell building.



APG has asked CBRE Development Services to have the new office Edge Amsterdam West meet the requirements of the certificate. The building already has a high ambition with sustainability certification BREEAM Outstanding. So, what is the reason for yet another certificate? Zaida Thepass, Sustainability Consultant at CBRE: “In order to achieve the WELL certificate, measurements are actually taken within the building itself to assess whether you fulfil the requirements set for air quality, acoustics and lighting, for example. It is the first certification aimed specifically at the health and well-being of the users of a building. That is what distinguishes this certificate from many other quality labels. This standard was established after seven years of research and developed in cooperation with physicians, scientists and real estate professionals.”


It is much more than just a piece of paper, Marga emphasizes. “By meeting the criteria of WELL, we contribute to a higher level of well-being, better performances and a lower level of sick leave. The corona crisis has made us focus even more on air quality. So, we are very pleased that this is already incorporated in the WELL certification.”


We will also apply WELL to the building in Heerlen, Marga underlines. “As the building in Heerlen involves an existing construction, we have to conduct further research to what extent we are able to give shape and substance to the APG ambition with regard to WELL. That does not always have to be complicated. We already took a few well-being measures in Heerlen by, for example, removing the coffee machines from the workplace. That is a way of stimulating employees to walk more and to make quite a few steps in a day in a simple and unnoticed manner.”

Volgende publicatie:
"Sustainability opportunity to emerge from crisis more quickly"

"Sustainability opportunity to emerge from crisis more quickly"

Published on: 19 June 2020

The current corona crisis should not be a reason for companies and governments to weaken or abandon their sustainability ambitions. In fact, sustainability is a powerful tool to get out of that crisis.


This is stated in the so-called Green Recovery Statement that MVO Nederland has published today. Several large companies, including APG, support the statement.


There are large, green and social investment plans at both national and European level that also offer opportunities for economic recovery. The Green Deal presented last year is an example of this. Millions of green jobs can be created by investing in sustainability on a large scale. Both public and private investments are needed to get that job driver going, the statement says.

The Covid-19 period has also brought the realization that choices have to be made that are good for the economy and sensible for the climate and humanity.”


The crisis should also not be used for the Dutch economy, for example to weaken the ambitions of the climate agreement, the collective states in the statement. By investing in sustainable innovations now, we can build a competitive advantage in the Netherlands and thus also a solid revenue model for our economy.


The objectives formulated in the statement have many interfaces with APG's sustainability policy, which was presented in May. APG believes that pensions are about living, living and living together. Taking care of pensions for 5 million households is in itself already a very sustainable core activity. We live together in a world that we deal with responsibly. One of the four pillars of that ambition is to contribute to the sustainable development of ‘Corporate Netherlands’. Another ambition is to be an international leader in the field of sustainable investment. With this leading position, APG can also make an important contribution to combating the current crisis. For example, APG invests heavily on behalf of pension fund clients in Covid-19 bonds. The proceeds from such bonds are used, among other things, to fund emergency health measures and to support small and medium-sized enterprises in affected countries.




Critically looking at yourself is also part of that new sustainability policy. Practice what you preach. APG therefore takes a step forward in its own business operations. Earlier this year, APG joined the Anders Reizen coalition, a coalition of more than fifty large organizations in the Netherlands that wants to halve the CO2 emissions from business travel by 2030. APG has expressed its promise to look critically at its own travel policy.


In addition, the collective says in the statement that it sees the EU emissions trading system (ETS) as an important means of achieving its climate ambitions. That position is also fully in line with that of APG. The pension provider recently made a plea for the CO2 pricing together with the ABP pension fund.

In short, sustainability is woven into who we are as APG and what we do, emphasizes CEO Gerard van Olphen. “Supporting this initiative underlines APG's vision. The Covid-19 period has brought dark times, but also the realization that choices have to be made that create new opportunities. Choices that are good for the economy and sensible for the climate and humanity.”

Volgende publicatie:
APG calls on government: do not ignore large polluters

APG calls on government: do not ignore large polluters

Published on: 8 June 2020

Eyes on Climate Agreement while stimulate economy during corona

Together with pension fund and customer ABP, APG calls on the government to switch to pricing CO2 as soon as possible. This accelerates the required green investments and stimulates the economy. Geraldine Leegwater, member of the ABP board, and Ronald Wuijster, member of the APG board of directors, explain today on the FD's opinion page why they are sounding the alarm.


It has been agreed in the climate agreement that the Netherlands will unilaterally introduce a broader and rising CO2 tax if necessary. However, the explanatory memorandum to the draft bill showed last week that because of the corona crisis, the Cabinet wants to go a little slower for large companies that face a lot of foreign competition.


ABP and APG endorse and support the Paris climate ambitions. According to them, the unexpected crisis requires strong intervention in the Netherlands and in Europe to get the economy going again. This must be done in a way that contributes to the climate and energy transition. Leaving large polluters out of the picture does not fit in with that.


A login is required to read the Dutch article Institutional investors insist on rapid introduction of CO2 pricing online.

Volgende publicatie:
APG in media campaign Anders Reizen (Traveling Different)

APG in media campaign Anders Reizen (Traveling Different)

Published on: 2 June 2020

Earlier this year, APG joined the coalition Anders Reizen, a coalition of over fifty big organizations in the Netherlands that want to cut the CO2 emissions of business travel in half by 2030. This ambition and fine-tuning our own ambition with respect to sustainability led us to take a critical look at our current mobility policy in 2020. That’s what APG was doing when the corona crisis broke out and the majority of APG employees started to work from home and stopped traveling altogether.


This will not slow down the development of the new mobility plan, however, but instead, provides new insights that will be incorporated into the plan. Not just for the immediate future, but certainly also in the long run.


Currently there is still a lot of working from home at APG. This is not going to change until September, following the RIVM guidelines. At some point, a period will probably follow where increasingly more employees will start traveling to work again. As a participant of Anders Reizen, APG feels responsible for showing the right example. And that means that APG intends for their employees to travel to work in a healthy, safe and sustainable way, when traveling is permitted again. Limiting and spreading out mobility is the top priority in this.


This is exactly what the members of the coalition have agreed on. This approach will prevent crowding on the road, in public transport and at the office. The participating employees will focus on using their bicycles as a healthy and sustainable alternative. They also agreed to keep air travel to a minimum. It is expected that will be on-going until at least the end of this year.


The majority of the employees involved will be adjusting their mobility policy in response to the corona measures and are looking for a healthy balance between working remotely and meeting at the office. People are asking each other questions like “What will our new way of working and traveling look like?”, “How do we prevent going back to old patterns?” and “Is part of the solution to keep working from home, either completely or partially?” In this way, companies are helping each other to evaluate new experiences with work and travel flexibility and to permanently incorporate them into the new, sustainable normal.


Today, Anders Reizen is launching a media campaign to keep business travel to a minimum, even after the period of intensively working from home is over. To that end, there is an article in the Financieel Dagblad today, in which the Coalition Anders Reizen makes a statement about traveling in compliance with the corona measures. 

Volgende publicatie:
APG aims to improve ‘carbon sink’ function of natural ecosystems

APG aims to improve ‘carbon sink’ function of natural ecosystems

Published on: 30 March 2020

A growing number of airlines, energy providers and other carbon-intensive companies pledge to reduce CO2 emissions to net-zero by 2050 or earlier. But how does that work? In addition to decarbonizing their businesses, companies increasingly invest in enhancing the ‘carbon sink’ function of natural ecosystems. While not new, the larger scale and professionalism of such Nature-based solutions (NbS) potentially makes them more attractive for investors like APG, says Jos Lemmens.


Nestlé, ThyssenKrupp, Volkswagen, Repsol and BP: these are just some examples of the many companies that have recently announced their ambition to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 at the latest. Although details vary, these companies’ approaches have one thing in common; they rely partly on increasing ‘negative emissions’ by boosting the ability of natural ecosystems to sequester greenhouse gasses (GHGs).


Nature-based solutions (NbS) – as these initiatives are called – have been around for some time, says Jos Lemmens, Senior Portfolio Manager of the Natural Resources Fund at APG Asset Management, co-managing a portfolio of productive timberland and farmland assets. “Often these have been associated with carbon credits markets, but there are other ways in which contributions to sequester GHSs can be made. For instance by integrating nature-based solutions in the acquisition and maintenance of farmland and productive timberland. We know that natural ecosystems are excellent carbon sinks. They have the potential to sequester 30% of global CO2 emissions. In order to fully realize that potential, natural ecosystems need to be preserved, improved and expanded.”


APG, on behalf of its pension fund clients, invests in forests and agricultural land. When properly managed, these assets can sequester more carbon in the trees and soil, increasing the intrinsic value of the natural resource. In this way, the interests of stakeholders – investors, operators and local communities - can be aligned.


Tipping point

Prior to the corona crisis, Jos addressed a high-level conference co-organized by APG, where researchers, investors, companies and policymakers explored ways to make nature-based solutions (NbS) scalable and investable. “The market seems be at a tipping point”, says Jos. “Initiatives are still small-scale. But with large companies entering this market, existing developers can benefit from the financing, marketing and risk management capabilities that these new players bring along.”


One of the takeaways of the conference was that tackling climate change requires betting on many horses. Duncan van Bergen, VP Nature-based Solutions at Shell, for instance, explained that Shell is not only taking steps to reduce the carbon intensity of its products, but is now also investing $ 300 million a year in NbS. Many companies have announced plans to plant trees or (re)develop wetlands, in addition to their carbon reduction schemes. It is now generally accepted that keeping the rise of global temperatures well below 2 degrees requires large ‘negative emissions’.


Building an investment case

Scaling up NbS projects in terms of size and professionalism potentially makes them attractive for large investors like APG, says Jos. “It is not a matter of simply planting some trees but of using NbS to build up a sound investment case. In the long run, profitability can only be sustained if the land - our investment’s capital base - is well managed and shielded against degeneration. Investments in natural resources need to be sustainable to be commercially viable in the long term, and vice versa.”

The conference demonstrated the need for all involved – including companies, offerors of NbS, and investors – to pool their strengths to further develop this market. “When it comes to investing in natural resources, sustainability is not peripheral but the core of what we are doing. As a large investor, we have the opportunity to have an impact, even if only a little, with each of the many euros that we invest.”

Volgende publicatie:
APG aims to halve its own mobility carbon footprint

APG aims to halve its own mobility carbon footprint

Published on: 21 February 2020

APG recently signed up with Anders Reizen. This is a coalition of some 50 organizations with the common ambition of halving carbon emissions from business travel by 2030 (compared to 2016). By joining this coalition, APG plans to make use of the experience of other companies to halve the emissions of its own business travel per employee by 2030.

Business travel refers to commuting and other travel used by the employer, including air travel.


More sustainable travel

Gerard van Olphen, CEO of APG, is clear about the organization's potential for sustainable mobility: "As a large, sustainable and responsible investor we must of course do the same as what we expect of other companies. We're simply not sustainable enough yet. That's why we'll be adjusting our mobility policy this year. Translated into practice this means reducing car use by encouraging the use of public transport and taking a critical look at our parking policy, for example. We plan to make the lease car fleet more sustainable, and to reduce the amount of air travel. This might mean that some employees have to change how they commute."


APG employs a total of around 3,000 people, many of whom work in Heerlen and Amsterdam, and some in New York and Hong Kong. There is room to make mobility more sustainable there, too. Van Olphen: “We want to avoid unnecessary travel as much as possible, both at home and abroad. Merging our Amsterdam locations into one modern, energy-neutral building near Sloterdijk station is in itself a step in the right direction - for the environment, but it also in the considerable saving in accommodation expenses."


Liveable world


Signing the 'Dutch Business Sustainable Mobility Pledge' forms the starting point for APG also to fulfil its social responsibility through its own mobility policy. Van Olphen: “For APG, pension means more than money alone. We take responsibility for securing a good income for our parents and our children. Now, and in the near and distant future. And we want them to enjoy that income in a pleasant, liveable world."

Volgende publicatie:
Tailings database key step towards safer mining dams

Tailings database key step towards safer mining dams

Published on: 29 January 2020

APG among participants of Global Mining and Tailings Safety Init


What is needed to make tailings dams at mining sites safer? On the anniversary of the Brumadinho disaster - last weekend a year ago - an investor initiative launched a tailings dams database as part of an ambitious program to prevent such tragedies in the future.

The database contains information on a total of 1,939 dams. The total current volume of tailings stored in disclosed facilities is 45.7 billion cubic meters, which is equivalent to the volume of over 11,400 Wembley Stadiums. Figures for the number of tailings dams globally are unknown, with estimates varying between 4,000 and 18,000. Only a small proportion of these are currently in use.


Investor coalition

In recent years, there have been a number of tragic incidents with mine waste storage facilities – known as tailings dams. In January 2019, a tailings dams near the Brazilian town of Brumadinho gave way, causing the death of 270 people. ‘Brumadinho’ led to the formation of a coalition of investors headed up by the Church of England. APG, on behalf of its pension fund clients, participates in this Global Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative.


Good start

“The number of tailings dams included in the database is admittedly still quite small”, says Ileana van Hagen, Senior Portfolio Manager Credits at APG Asset Management, who represents APG and its clients at the Initiative . “However, it is a good start and establishes what we as an investor expect from mining companies.” One encouraging fact is that 40 of the 50 largest mining concerns have already provided data to feed the database. Ileana: “The challenge now is to get the smaller mining companies on board as well.”


Satellite monitoring

The database allows users to see information about the tailings facilities owned by a company, including previously identified stability issues and potential severity of consequences in the event of a failure. Future updates to the database are expected to include integration of satellite data and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify further tailings dams and monitor ‘leaching’ of tailings materials – an indicator of possible instability.


Alert system

In addition to the database, the Initiative announced its intention to arrive at a ‘24/7 tailings alert system’. Such a system would be similar to those in the shipping and aviation industries and alert local authorities and companies in the case of safety concerns. A further call was made to companies to urgently identify the most dangerous dams so that these can be removed.


Global standard

The Initiative has been instrumental in bringing together mining companies, industry experts and investors. “It is encouraging that in the 10 months since its inception, the Initiative has already yielded tangible results, including the creation of a global standard for tailings dams safety and management, which will be launched in April. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that dams are safe, so that tragic events like ‘Brumadinho’ will not repeat.”   

Volgende publicatie:
APG contributes to low carbon European train transport

APG contributes to low carbon European train transport

Published on: 20 December 2019

APG, on behalf of its pension fund clients, has acquired an indirect 41.1% interest in Alpha Trains, the leading passenger train and locomotive leasing company in Continental Europe. Alpha Trains provides rolling stock to train and locomotive operators under leases, which provides train operators with the flexibility to respond dynamically and commercially to opportunities presented in the rail transport market, independent of long-term investment considerations. The majority of the fleet is electric, making a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of Europe’s transport sector.


Peter Branner, CIO of APG, about this investement: “As a long-term responsible pension investor, we are continuously looking for attractive investments that help us realise stable returns for ABP and the other pension fund clients we work for, while at the same time contributing to a sustainable world. The investment in Alpha Trains Group perfectly fits our investment strategy: Alpha Trains’ fleet of mostly electric trains and locomotives promotes sustainable, low carbon mass transport within Europe while also offering access to a long-term business model with strong growth and resilient cash flows.”


About Alpha Trains

The Alpha Trains portfolio consists of more than 800 passenger trains and locomotives on lease across Continental Europe (including Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Benelux) where it is the market leader amongst the privately-owned rolling stock lessors.
Alpha Trains participates in the annual GRESB survey – a leading Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) benchmark for infrastructure investments across the world – and has been ranked first among their peers in the global diversified infrastructure funds and rolling stock asset class categories, respectively.


See press release

Volgende publicatie:
‘This doesn’t have to be a paper tiger’

‘This doesn’t have to be a paper tiger’

Published on: 10 July 2019

Today, APG chairman of the board Gerard van Olphen has sign an agreement in The Hague under which the Dutch financial sector will commit to the targets of the Climate Agreement and the Paris Agreement.


He comes back to this idea several times during the interview: this is a unique commitment. It is the only one of its kind. ‘Pension funds, insurance companies, banks and asset managers are voluntarily committed to this approach and will be transparent in their accountability to society. This commitment on the part of the financial sector will have a truly enormous impact. After all, the sector makes up 80-90% of the money in the Netherlands. The signatories to this agreement today represent €3 trillion. This makes the Dutch financial sector a catalyst for and promoter of the transition that the Netherlands has to undertake. We are shaping the future. Contributing to the achievement. And yes, I am very proud of that.’

Of course, as Van Olphen also knows, industrial companies themselves have to make their factories cleaner. ‘We can't do that for them. They will have to reduce their carbon emissions themselves. But the fact that when we assess industry business cases we are not only evaluating financial feasibility but also compliance with the Paris targets, which means that polluting or less ambitious initiatives in the field of CO2 reduction will have more difficulty in obtaining funding than plans that really contribute to sustainability.’

The uniqueness of the joint declaration has not escaped the notice of neighboring countries either. In Brussels, in London, at the G20: the finance minister, sector representatives or Gerard van Olphen himself will discuss this commitment on various foreign venues in the near future. The international financial community welcomes this typically Dutch “polder manifesto”. Van Olphen: ‘The financial sector in many countries is more inclined to support climate agreements than to help shape them.’


What is it that makes this document so special?
‘In the financial sector, you are primarily responsible for other people’s money, so you have to have a solid risk/return profile. You can't tell people that their pensions will be lower because we have to finance the energy transition. But this is a huge commitment, and I would almost say it is catalytic. This is because we intend to determine and report on the CO2 impact of all the relevant investments we make. We will then agree on reductions in line with the Paris targets. In other words, 49% lower C02 emissions by 2030. And we will hold ourselves publicly accountable for this in the framework of a national accountability system. Once a year, as a consequence of the climate agreement, the minister consults Parliament with a view to explaining: are we doing enough in the area of the climate? Will we achieve our targets? This commitment is integral to that.’

You are proud of the commitment involved, but not entirely satisfied. Why is that?
‘When I was invited to be the chairman of the Financing Task Force, the scenario was that we wanted to bring a climate agreement to the Lower House before the parliamentary recess in 2018. The Netherlands intends to make rapid progress on the energy transition. That turned out to be a more difficult process than we thought. Initially, five primary committees were involved. Initially, financing was intended to play a supporting role, in the same way as the labor market. Our vision was that at the level of the primary committees - transport, agriculture, construction, electricity, industry - a great deal was already happening, and they would be coming to the financing committee with very specific investment questions. Such as: ‘we are planning to build a light rail from the Randstad to Schiphol, we need hydrogen power stations or we need large-scale electrification.’


But in practice, the situation proved to be problematic. ‘Because nothing happened.’ Sometimes as a result of conflicting interests, but also because there was no clear direction in the climate plans. There were still many options to be considered. The Netherlands is going to use electrification or hydrogen. Will there be any legislation on CO2 pricing? So a great many conditions for a successful business case had not yet been met.’ In retrospect, this was also very logical. The subject matter is comprehensive and complex and also requires broad public support, and I was probably a little naive at the outset as well.’


No direction, many different interests.
‘Someone told me what their experience was: ‘When I started I thought it was a football match. But halfway through I think to myself: I'm now standing in front of the goal and something is flying towards me. First it was a football, then it became a baseball somehow, and now that I'm expected to head it, I'm not sure it's not a bowling ball. And before I do that, I'd like to know for sure one way or another.’


Is that how you experienced it as well?
‘To put it diplomatically, our first phase was one of finding our way. What also became clear to us, besides the fact that there was a lack of direction, was that the committees were not familiar with the structure of the financial sector. When the issue came up at one of the committees: we need money, our counter-question was: what kind of money? Well, money. But what kind of money? Well, euros. The question from the financial sector is then:  Risk-bearing, non-risk-bearing, short, long, hybrid?  And so we developed a financing guide so that they could better understand supply and demand in the field of financing.  We also worked closely with the majority of the primary committees, sometimes in joint workshops, sometimes through participation in the relevant committee or in some other way.’


In February of this year, after a great deal of media fuss about the affordability of the transition, the government issued a broad outline of their assessment of the agreement. This prompted the task group to consider its role in the follow-up. What's next?  ‘We then agreed to focus on two things. The first was the commitment that we are signing today. The second was to help support Invest NL. In the meantime it had been decided to found Invest NL, an investment company belonging to the Dutch State and managed by Wouter Bos.  Invest NL acts as a point of contact and facilitator for parties looking for financing in the context of the energy transition.  It is the investment company that has received 2.5 billion from the state to advance the transition. The idea is this: we are not going to finance the energy transition with this EUR 2.5 billion, but if we invest it in the right place, the private market may be able to invest many times more than that on market terms, and this will make investment capacity available.’


And now we the commitment is there. Aren't you afraid that this will be a paper tiger? It seems like a horrible job to me to standardize the measurements.
‘The next chapter is: how do we make sure this happens? This must not become a paper tiger. This really must be something where the financial sector will genuinely be accountable to politics and society for their efforts. So there must also be an independent guarantee, and it will be difficult to say at first: party A reports using one standard, party B reports using another standard, but what matters is: is the underlying trend the right one? And if it's not the case, that party should be able to say: dear financial sector, you need to redouble your efforts.


And that independent actor will be there?
‘Yes, it is going to happen.’


The problem is that you can't impose sanctions. At best because parties that are lagging behind will have to account for their actions publicly. Or because the sector is exerting pressure.
‘My first instinct is not to resort to naming and shaming. But let's say hypothetically that if a party is known to be clogging up the works, the sector itself will eventually make corrections. The sector has now gained sufficient experience with painful situations where they have been called to account and have themselves been too slow to take action. Whether you look at profiteering policies at insurance companies, interest rate derivatives at banks or how pension funds communicate pension cuts, these social discussions have taught us that this is not how it works.’


So how does this affect APG itself?
‘This means that APG, as a company, is also committed to reducing CO2 emissions in line with the Paris targets. This implies decreased travel and reduced gas consumption. Everything that comes into play in society will also affect us as a company. Sustainability is not something that our clients necessarily expect from their investments, but it is what we expect at APG. This means that our annual report will state how much C02 we emit and how we are going to ensure that this will be 49% lower in 2030. What does that mean in terms of accommodations? In terms of how we travel? How are we going to heat our buildings? From 2020 onwards, the theme of sustainability will be high on the agenda of APG itself.’


And beyond the company itself - what does this mean for the stakeholders, consumers who read in the newspaper that the energy transition is unaffordable?
‘Of course, the transition will be costly. The idea that some of the news media presented was that in five years, everyone will have to cook electrically, or have solar panels on their roofs. So that's our starting point now, and the question is who is going to pay for it? But what matters is that you adapt to match the natural flow of the consumer. The financial sector will of course be there to support consumers in their decisions. So if you, as a consumer, want a new kitchen, then the lender will say: if you are going to make a choice anyway, then it's better to go for induction. That's different from saying: I've just had a new kitchen installed and now it turns out that I might as well replace my stove in two years’ time. When you are making choices about financing your kitchen, your house, your car, your company, you will find a bank, an asset manager or a pension fund that will say: we will help you finance your needs, but at the same time we will work with you to think about how you can make sustainable choices.’

Volgende publicatie:
“We are in it for the long term”

“We are in it for the long term”

Published on: 24 May 2019

Interview Ronald Wuijster with Management Scope


At APG we ensure that millions of Dutch people have a so called ‘income for later’. “We do this by obtaining a good return, that’s our main aim. Leading on from this we also have a second goal: to contribute as investors to a sustainable world.”, says Wuijster. “We consciously invest in leaders in the area of sustainability and in companies with the potential to become leaders in the future. If you just invest in companies that already have fantastic performances in terms of sustainability, you don’t improve the world.”


Attractive employer

This way of working makes APG an attractive employer for investors:
“Many employees find satisfaction in contributing to the pensions of millions of people and exerting influence on companies and governments to make them behave in a socially responsible manner. Our employees can work at these goals with substantial assets behind them, they can enter new markets and look for new investment possibilities with good returns worldwide.”


More comprehensive investment process

Regularly, people talk on the possible dilemma of returns versus sustainability. Wuijster says: ‘In practice we’re seldom faced with that dilemma, because we look at our investments from an overall point of view. The portfolio managers themselves take various perspectives into account in their considerations, including sustainability factors. If you look only at economic factors or cash flow, you get a good, but one-sided picture of company performance. Portfolio managers were quick to see that a broader perspective actually strengthened the investment decision. So it made our investment process more comprehensive.”


Long term

In the interview, Wuijster underlines the long term focus of APG to maximize pension value for pension funds and participants: “We still see too many shareholders and directors with a horizon of just three months. As long-term investors we believe you have to look much further ahead. We also see this too as part of our purpose: to contribute to shifting companies’ and governments’ short-term horizon.”


Wuijster concludes: “At APG we don’t invest on impulse. People sometimes think that our trading floor is powered by testosterone. In this I must disappoint them: it’s certainly not the case. We're in it for the long term.”


Read the full interview here (in Dutch)

Volgende publicatie:
Gerard van Olphen's response to the Climate agreement

Gerard van Olphen's response to the Climate agreement

Published on: 21 December 2018

Gerard van Olphen, chairman of the Executive Board of APG and chairman of the Task Force for Finance, responds to the Climate Agreement.


"The Dutch financial sector is positive about the draft Climate Agreement that is now ahead. In recent months, many parties have worked hard on this and that deserves much appreciation. Now it is time to take the next step to achieve the Paris climate goals together. According to the agreement, the financial sector takes its responsibility when it comes to climate change. We will invest billions more in sustainable growth and will measurably and significantly reduce the CO2 emissions from our loans and investments. So that our customers can also enjoy a financially healthy and sustainable world in the future. Promising steps have been taken with the climate agreement today. At the same time, more elaboration and realization is needed. The financial sector would like to discuss this further with all parties involved in the coming months.”


The full text of the Climate Agreement can be found on klimaatakkoord.nl (in Dutch only).

Volgende publicatie:
Amsterdam locations APG will go to one sustainable building

Amsterdam locations APG will go to one sustainable building

Published on: 27 September 2018

APG will leave the location Symphony Tower on the Zuidas in 2021 and will concentrate all its Amsterdam activities in the building Basisweg 10, near Sloterdijk station.


The property will be converted as from January 2019 by owner Edge Technologies into a sustainable and contemporary building. The renovation creates a modern working environment that facilitates employees better than the current working environment and invites them to work together on the main goal of APG, creating maximum pension value. Around 500 employees will move from location Symphony to Basisweg, where about 1000 employees of APG will work.


One of the most sustainable buildings in the Netherlands
Owner Edge Technologies realizes the building with a "BREEAM" sustainability certificate with the level excellent or higher so that the building will become one of the most sustainable buildings in the Netherlands, in accordance with APG's role as a responsible investor. In terms of appearance, the building will suit APG as a leading pension provider and global investor.

High-quality work environment
The renovation creates a modern working environment that facilitates employees better than the current working environment and invites them to work together. The working environment will be of a higher quality: different working methods (e.g. concentrated work, collaboration, agile work) will be facilitated in a flexible work concept.

Due to a lower price per sqm, a lower requirement for sqm and a lower energy consumption, APG saves an amount of € 87 million in accommodation costs over the term of the lease (17 years), which contributes to the APG goal of reducing the costs per participant.

Volgende publicatie:
Financial institutions develop methodology to measure their carbon impact

Financial institutions develop methodology to measure their carbon impact

Published on: 12 December 2017

Twelve Dutch banks, insurance companies, asset managers and pension providers (including APG) have developed a methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of their investments and loans.


This will enable them to set their own targets for helping to keep global warming within safe limits. The final report, including the methodology – the product of two years’ work – was published on 12 December 2017.


Claudia Kruse, Managing Director Global Responsible Investment & Governance at APG Asset Management says: ‘This result shows how important cooperation is within the sector. In this report we agreed upon definitions with which we can measure more accurate and compare the carbon footprint in our portfolios better. Today in Paris, we are also starting a global collaboration with investors for engagement with the global top 100 of largest CO2 emitters. We Together, we will discuss the governance and reporting of climate risks and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Only through cooperation will we achieve the scale needed to tackle climate change.’’


Influencing the carbon footprint

Financial institutions can influence the carbon footprint of business undertakings. They do this by taking account of the business’s carbon footprint when they make investment decisions. And by entering into a dialogue on the carbon footprint of business undertakings in which they invest or which they finance.  


That information forms the basis of the Platform Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). This is one of the first initiatives in which financial institutions have worked together to reduce carbon emissions. The PCAF’s members consist of banks ABN AMRO, ASN Bank, Triodos Bank and De Volksbank, pension funds PMT and PME, asset managers ACTIAM, Achmea Investment Management, APG, MN and PGGM, and development bank FMO. At the Paris Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, they signed the Dutch Carbon Pledge, promising to join forces in the interests of the climate. Insurance company Achmea Investment Management joined the PCAF in 2017.


Common, transparent methodology

The PCAF members’ plan was to develop within two years a common, transparent methodology that would enable financial institutions to set targets for carbon emissions and to measure the extent to which these targets were achieved. The recently published report describes such methodologies for listed equities, project finance, government bonds, mortgages, corporate finance and real estate. The report is in the public domain. The PCAF members hope this will encourage other financial institutions to adopt these methodologies.


Unique collaboration between financials

Piet Sprengers of ASN Bank, Chair of PCAF says: ‘We have worked hard for two years and have achieved a great result thanks to the unique collaboration between twelve financials. It is now time to build on this result and really get to grips with the methodology. We are therefore going to proceed with the PCAF for another two years, so that together we can continue to encourage and inspire other institutions. Ultimately, what is important is that we use our influence as financiers and investors to help keep global warning within safe limits.’


Promoting the developed methodology internationally

PCAF’s stance is that a financial institution’s footprint reporting is a means to an end. The ultimate purpose is to allow steering towards a low-carbon portfolio in line with the Paris Agreement. PCAF continues for at least two years. The members also intend to share best practices, address dilemmas and work together on improving the methodologies. They are furthermore going to promote the developed methodology internationally. PCAF is also part of the Dutch Sustainable Finance Platform, chaired by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB).


About PCAF

Twelve Dutch financial institutions – the Platform for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) – are working together to jointly develop transparant open source methodologies to measure the carbon footprint of their investments and loans. By measuring and disclosing this information they expect to develop more effective strategies that help contribute to a low carbon society, in the hope that stakeholders inside and outside the Dutch financial industry will follow suit.


About the Sustainable Finance Platform of the DNB

The Sustainable Finance Platform is a cooperative venture of De Nederlandsche Bank (chair), the Dutch Banking Association, the Dutch Association of Insurers, the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds, the Dutch Fund and Asset Management Association, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and the Sustainable Finance Lab. The aim of this platform, set up by DNB in 2016, is to promote and encourage a dialogue on sustainable finance in the financial sector.

Volgende publicatie:
APG wants to double sustainable energy investments

APG wants to double sustainable energy investments

Published on: 22 September 2016

Over the next three years, APG wants to double its investments in sustainable energy production from one to two billion euros.


350 institutional investors and financial institutions

In New York, Kemna, who speaks on behalf of a coalition of nearly 350 institutional investors and financial institutions, notes that in 2013 around $250 billion has been invested in clean energy solutions worldwide. To counter the worst effects of climate change this amount should be doubled within a few years.


The doubling of investments which APG wants to achieve in the next three years, for example in wind and solar power, fits the focus on sustainability in APG's investment portfolio. In her speech Kemna announces that APG has managed to double its investments in sustainable real estate to €11 billion in the past two years. According to Kemna this is an important step in the right direction because real estate is responsible for 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.


In order to facilitate sustainable investing for pension funds and institutional investors, it is important that governments ensure clear and stable regulations. This involves measures such as the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, higher prices for CO2 emission rights and increased support for research into cleaner energy.


To underline the importance of this, APG, together with other investors, has signed a statement on climate change in which governments are asked to take such measures. The statement is endorsed by 347 investors, including Dutch pension funds ABP, bpfBOUW, SPW, PPF APG and insurance company Loyalis. They announce their ambition to look into investments with low CO2 emissions, to the extent that this fits within their task as a pension provider and insurer. They also will encourage companies in which they invest in to be clear and open about the risks they face from climate change.