Responsible investing

We want to contribute to a sustainable future for current and future generations. This is why we look at how our investees treat people and the environment and whether they are managed responsibly, in addition to assessing financial and risk criteria. We take environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into account in every investment we make. Our responsible investment approach consists of a set of policies and instruments outlined below. 

Responsible investment policies and instruments

 

Inclusion 

 

Sustainability factors and responsible business practices can have an impact on investment risks and opportunities and so we evaluate companies we can invest in on the basis of return, risk, cost and the degree to which they operate responsibly. A proprietary method, outlined in our Inclusion Policy, is used to assess companies on the basis of ESG criteria. If a company does not meet these criteria, we can only invest if we believe we can encourage it to improve its sustainability performance. 

 

 

Exclusion 

 

150 companies on our Exclusion List

 

Our pension fund clients do not want to invest in certain products and government bonds. These are laid out in our Exclusion Policy. We do not invest in manufacturers of weapons that are prohibited by international treaties signed by the Netherlands, tobacco companies, or in companies that manufacture (major components of) nuclear weapons. In the case of government bonds, we do not invest in the bonds of countries on which the UN Security Council or the European Union has imposed a binding arms embargo.  

 

 

Sustainable Development Investments (SDIs) 

 

€112 billion (17.6% of invested assets) invested in the Sustainable Development Goals

 

We actively search for investments for our pension fund clients that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). APG joined forces with a group of other investors to launch the SDI Asset Owner Platform (SDI AOP) in 2020. The founding asset managers, APG, PGGM, AustralianSuper and BCI, have agreed on a common definition for SDIs that allows them to report on and engage with their investments in the SDGs in a comparable way. The SDI AOP welcomes investors across the globe to subscribe, creating a critical mass of investors who together define the meaning of investing in the SDGs. More about how we approach investing in SDIs can be found in our SDI approach

 

 

Climate Risk Policy 

 

We have reduced the carbon footprint of our equity investments by 48% since 2015

 

As a long-term investor, we have long recognized the importance of climate risks (and opportunities). These are reflected in our Climate Reduction Target and Climate Risk Policy which sets out how we measure, monitor, and manage climate risks and opportunities, and manage and report on our carbon footprint.  

 

 

Engagement 

 

We engaged with 498 companies on good governance and sustainability in 2021 


APG enters into a dialogue with many of its investee companies in order to influence them to improve their performance on sustainability and corporate governance. We often cooperate with other investors and regularly discuss sustainability and shareholder rights with legislators and regulatory bodies, to increase our impact. For example, we collaborate with other major investors through Climate Action 100+ to engage with companies to reduce their CO2 emissions and promote the transition to low-carbon business models. We are also a member of the Global Real Estate Engagement Network (GREEN), an initiative to help accelerate sustainability in the real estate sector. Find out more about the companies we engaged with in 2021 and the topics we discussed here.

 

 

Voting 

 

We voted at 5,280 shareholder meetings in 2021 

 

APG actively exercises its rights as a shareholder. We vote at the shareholders’ meetings of the companies in which we invest. We publish our voting behavior on our website and provide explanations of how we voted. Our Corporate Governance and Voting approach gives more information on how we implement our voting policy. 

 

 

Responsible investment initiatives  

 

APG is committed to developing standards that can advance responsible investment and is convinced of the important role that global collaboration between institutional investors can play in tackling the challenges we face. We have co-founded a number of important initiatives and are also involved in numerous other international organizations covering a wide range of responsible investment themes. 

 

 

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark 

 

As co-founder of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, we expect the companies in which we invest to respect human rights, including the rights of employees, local communities, and other stakeholders. Although corporate action to protect human rights has improved in the past five years over one-third of all companies still scored zero on human rights due diligence in 2022. 

 

 

Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) and Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM)  

 

The real estate sector accounts for 30-40% of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As a prominent real estate investor, APG has played a leading role in joining forces to develop standards like CRREM and GRESB that improve transparency and enable investors to better evaluate how sustainable their real estate investments are.  

 

 

SDI Asset Owner Platform 

 

APG is a co-founder of the SDI AOP, which assesses companies and to what extent their core business contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDI Asset Owner Platform (SDI AOP) gives asset owners the tools they need to apply the lens of sustainable business models to their investment process and provides a standardized and transparent way of reporting. 

 

 

ESG Data Convergence Project 

 

APG is one of the driving forces behind the ESG Data Convergence Project, a collaboration between private equity funds and investors that aims to improve the quality and comparability of ESG data in private equity. 

Focus Themes

 

Climate and the energy transition 

 

The effects of climate change are already visible and will further intensify in the future. Climate change has a major impact on the participants in our clients’ pension funds and on the economy as a whole. We identify and report on climate risks and opportunities according to the framework of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and are taking steps to bring our investment portfolio in line with the Paris Agreement. APG has also actively contributed to the development of the Net Zero Investment Framework (NZIF), which includes principles and minimum requirements for asset classes and sectors with respect to carbon reduction, investment in climate solutions, and engagement with investee companies, also as a Board member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and Co-Chair of the Paris Aligned Investment Initiative (PAII). 

 

APG contributes to the financing of the energy transition in a number of ways. For example, by investing on behalf of our pension fund clients in the energy transition, in infrastructure and in making the built environment more sustainable. Specifically for ABP, we invest in companies and projects that offer innovative solutions for the Dutch energy transition through the ABP Netherlands Energy Transition Fund (ANET).  

 

 

Biodiversity 

 

Biodiversity is declining rapidly worldwide, presenting a major threat to nature and our future prosperity. Preserving biodiversity is an important goal for APG and our pension fund clients. As a signatory to the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, APG is committed to taking ambitious action on biodiversity. We are actively involved in the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and the Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Professionals (PBAF), in which financial institutions develop a shared methodology for measuring and reporting on the impact of their investments on biodiversity.  

 

 

Good governance 

 

Good corporate governance is a prerequisite for companies to operate responsibly. We use our influence to improve corporate governance at the companies we invest in. Our website contains an overview of how we voted, the companies we engaged with and the topics we discussed. In 2021, we voted on nearly 55,000 proposals and resolutions on behalf of our fund clients on important governance topics like remuneration and board diversity. 

 

 

Human rights and labor conditions 

 

APG wants the companies it invests in to respect the rights of their employees, local communities, and other stakeholders. Like our pension fund clients, we view respect for human rights as a prerequisite to ensure that the major transitions the world is facing take place in an equitable manner. Our fund clients have signed the Dutch Pension Funds Agreement on Responsible Investment (IMVB), which is based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

Awards & recognition

 

Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)  

 

In 2022, our investment & stewardship policy scored four out of five stars in the annual PRI benchmark, with scores for the other investment modules varying between four and five stars. For a complete overview, please read our Transparency Report on the PRI website. 

 

 

Pensioen Pro Awards  

 

APG was awarded the 2021 Pension Pro Award for responsible investment/ESG for the Sustainable Development Investments Asset Owner Platform and in 2022 APG won the asset management prize for the iSTOXX APG World Responsible Investment indices 

Pensioen Pro is a Dutch platform for discussion and knowledge-sharing in the pension sector. 

 

 

IPE Awards 

 

APG won two IPE awards for its investments in Real Estate and Private Markets at the Investment & Pensions Europe event in Rotterdam 

 

APG was elected Real Assets & Infrastructure Investor of the Year during the 2022 IPE Real Estate Awards, winning awards for Investment in the Netherlands, Portfolio Construction, Environmental Sustainability and Technology & Innovation.  

 

 

Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) 

 

Each year, the VBDO assesses how responsibly the 50 largest pension funds in the Netherlands invest their assets. In 2022, our pension fund clients pension funds were first (ABP), second (bpfBOUW) and sixth (SPW). 

Global Responsible Investment and Governance (GRIG) team 

Claudia Kruse

We use our influence as a global investor to advance sustainability and governance and help shift capital towards sustainable solutions.

Claudia Kruse - Managing Director

The GRIG team is APG’s center of responsible investing expertise. Together with the investment teams and many other departments, the team invests time and resources into understanding the clients’ needs and wishes and then implements data-driven investment and policy solutions to enable APG and its clients to fulfill their responsible investment ambitions. 

 

GRIG’s role includes collaborating with and challenging portfolio managers on responsible investing, engaging in dialogues with companies to encourage them to improve their corporate responsibility, implementing the voting policy, and engaging with regulators and other stakeholders. The GRIG team comprises over 30 employees worldwide (Amsterdam, New York and Hong Kong) and over 15 nationalities. 

Contact

Claudia Kruse

Managing Director Global Responsible Investment

Anna Pot

Head of RI Capital Markets & RI Communications

Estelle Beretta

Manager RI Private Markets & RI digital

Terhi Halme

Manager Responsible Investments

YK Park

Head Of APAC Responsible Investment & Governance