PGGM today presents its 2012 Responsible Investment Annual Report, which provides insight into the many challenges in this area faced by the pension fund service provider last year. PGGM and its clients have expressed the ambition of remaining frontrunners in responsible investing.
The desire to subject this report to an external review comes from the sense that PGGM must offer the same transparency and accountability which it requires of the companies in which PGGM invests on behalf of its clients. Marcel Jeucken, Managing Director Responsible Investments: “We demand thorough sustainability reports from companies. And this independent review shows that we take sustainability reporting seriously as well. It forces us to formulate our account better and more clearly.”
Sustainability in the financial sector
One area to which PGGM devoted attention in 2012 was initiatives aimed at achieving more sustainability in the financial sector. PGGM sees this as its social duty and also hopes this will meet the urgent desire of its clients and members of the PGGM cooperative to call the financial sector to account for its conduct.
For instance, PGGM was one of the supporters of the Enhanced Disclosure Task Force, a worldwide initiative to urge banks to adopt better risk reporting that could be more easily compared. On behalf of its clients, PGGM conducts an intensive dialogue with banks and other parties on better corporate responsibility.
Active shareholdership in 2012 resulted in an historic settlement with Bank of America in a court case in which PGGM acted as the lead plaintiff. In this role PGGM supervises the compliance with the agreements made to improve corporate governance at Bank of America. PGGM also supervises proper distribution of the 2.4 billion dollars in damages that Bank of America must pay as a result of its actions in the 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch.
In 2012 PGGM also developed a specific index for so-called passive investments. This index can be used to evaluate the 2,800 companies in the FTSE All World Index for their ESG performance. In the long term, this will result in PGGM no longer investing its clients’ pension money in companies that score poorly for environmental performance, social policy and corporate governance.
In close consultation with its clients, PGGM participated last year in initiatives aimed at broadening the investment opportunities in the Netherlands. This answers the call for pension capital to be used to strengthen the stagnating Dutch economy. PGGM is involved in investigating investing in the national mortgage market and the role that institutional investors can play in making homes more energy efficient.
PGGM is a cooperative pension fund service provider. PGGM offers its institutional clients pension fund management, comprehensive asset management, policy advice and management support. PGGM currently manages roughly EUR 133 billion in pension assets on behalf of five pension funds representing some 2.5 million people. As a cooperative with roughly 578,000 members, PGGM is helping to achieve a valuable future. PGGM is working both on its own and with strategic partners to develop innovative future provisions by linking together pensions, care, housing and work.