A Dutch pension fund leading climate talks with Shell has divested its holdings in Europe’s top oil and gas companies, saying they are not “moving fast enough” to reduce emissions.
PFZW, which managed about €238 billion at the end of 2023, said it had sold its holdings in 310 oil and gas companies – worth around €2.8 billion – after a two-year engagement programme.
The companies include Shell, BP and TotalEnergies, which have set out plans to become “net-zero carbon emitters” by 2050 as well as various short and medium-term decarbonisation targets.
“During this period, dialogue with oil and gas companies was significantly intensified to encourage them to produce verifiable transition plans that support the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement,” PFZW said.
“Most of our fossil fuel investments have now been sold off, as these companies have made insufficient steps in the transition to a cleaner energy mix.”
PFZW, through its asset management division PGGM, will also step down as one of two pension funds leading climate negotiations with Shell since 2022 on behalf of the Climate Action 100+ investor group comprising $68 trillion (€63.2 trillion) in assets, a spokesperson said.
In response, Shell said: “We appreciate societal perceptions in the Netherlands, but this decision has no benefit to the climate.
“It will not change actual use of energy and continues to portray an incorrect understanding of the needed changes to today’s energy system.”
PFZW will continue to invest in seven companies – Cosan, Galp Energia, Granuul Invest, Neste, OMV , Raízen and Worley.
Last year, the Church of England Pensions Board, which had also led climate talks with Shell, divested its holdings in the oil company over its climate stance.