Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A protester holds a banner at the rally outside JP Morgan Headquarters in Manhattan, New York. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A protester holds a banner calling for fossil fuel divestment at a rally in New York City. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Really Fantastic': Europe's Largest Pension Fund Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment

It's "a huge victory for the climate, human rights, and all life on Earth," said one activist.

Andrea Germanos

Climate campaigners are cheering Wednesday in response to the news that Dutch pension fund ABP—the fifth-largest in the world—is divesting its assets from fossil fuel producers.

"This is really fantastic, after all these years of campaigning, we finally succeeded," said Liset Meddens, director at Fossielvrij NL, calling the development "a huge victory for the climate, human rights, and all life on Earth."

"This shows that pressure from below works."

A statement from ABP announcing the move cited the recent climate reports from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and IPCC as motivating the decision and also referenced "broad support" for the change from the fund's 2.4 million civil servant and teacher members.

The change will affect over $17 billion in assets, roughly 3% of the fund's total, including ABP's shares in oil giant Shell. The shift comes because, according to ABP board chair Corien Wortmann, the "board sees the need and urgency for a change of course."

"We part with our investments in fossil fuel producers because we see insufficient opportunity for us as a shareholder to push for the necessary, significant acceleration of the energy transition at these companies," Wortmann said in a statement.

"Using our influence as a shareholder, ABP will encourage companies that use fossil fuels to become more sustainable," she said. "We will also continue to advocate for governments to move towards further CO2 pricing in the industry. And we will continue to push for an end to subsidizing fossil fuels."

The announcement marks a noted shift from June, when Wortmann said that "directly exiting fossil" fuels was not the right move to address the climate crisis.

Klimaatstaking Utrecht 24-9-21

Meddens of Fossielvrij NL, one of the climate groups that has been campaigning to get ABP to dump its fossil fuel assets, said the reverberations of the fund's divestiture would be felt widely.

"ABP is the largest pension fund in Europe: the importance of this step at home and abroad cannot be underestimated," she said. "ABP has admitted that this decision is due to all pension participants and employers who have spoken out and organized."

"This shows that pressure from below works," she continued, "As an ordinary citizen, you can make a difference.”

350.org Europe agreed.

"The climate movement is winning!" the group tweeted.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fears of Escalation as Ukraine Answers Russian Missile Onslaught With Strike Deep Inside Invader's Territory

Ukrainian drones bombed two air bases more than 300 miles inside Russia, reportedly killing three soldiers, wounding four others, and damaging multiple warplanes.

Brett Wilkins ·


Patient Groups Push Congress to Combat Big Pharma Greed in Spending Bill

"As Congress works toward finalizing an end-of-year budget package, we urge the chambers to include bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the Food and Drug Administration's citizen petition process in order to reduce drug prices and save the government hundreds of millions of dollars."

Brett Wilkins ·


10,000+ Sign Open Letter Demanding Biden Order Paid Sick Leave for Railway Workers

"No one, especially in the world's richest nation, should have to choose between forgoing pay or working through severe illness and family emergencies," says The Lever's letter.

Jessica Corbett ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Signals Support for Anti-LGBTQ+ Reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

Julia Conley ·


Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of SummitjessicaDec 5, 2022
red panda
"Their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment," said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.
Common Dreams Logo