Column Gener@ties April 2021

29 April 2021

Responsible investments with your pension savings: an update

Philips Pensioenfonds invests the money from your pension premiums. We use the returns on those investments to pay you a proper pension. When we make our investments, we also take social aspects into account, such as the environment and human rights. Last year we conducted a large-scale survey among our members to learn more about your views on our social investment policy, and to determine whether we have your support to further develop that policy. The result: most definitely! We can now give you an update: what have we done since our survey in 2020?

Further development of our policy

Philips Pensioenfonds’s Board of Trustees determines the details of the pension fund’s investment policy, including the policy on responsible investment. Last year, more than 5,000 of our members gave their views on the Board’s policy plans for responsible investment. In the meantime, we have taken the first steps based on the results of that survey: we have mapped out almost all the details of the new responsible investment policy, and we have been developing transparent and detailed ways of communicating with our members.

The new policy includes a number of deliberate ‘responsible’ choices by Philips Pensioenfonds, for example by formally deciding what types of companies we will not invest in. Another aspect of the new policy is to select investments that can make a positive contribution towards some of the sustainable development goals, or ‘SDGs’: a series of goals defined by the United Nations that focus on themes such as ‘good health and well-being’ and ‘responsible consumption and production’. The new policy will give our portfolio a more sustainable quality than a portfolio that ignores social aspects. That does not mean, however, that it now only includes ‘green’ investments. We also monitor our investments for aspects such as the environment and human rights, to initiate a dialogue with companies that fall short on those aspects (see ‘Rendering account’). Visit our website for more information about our new responsible investment policy.

Putting the policy in practice

The new policy will be implemented during the period ahead. Philips Pensioenfonds was already investing responsibly, for example by excluding companies that are involved in manufacturing controversial weapons or tobacco, and we expect to add further exclusions to that list this spring. In addition, as already explained, the new policy will also involve selecting investments that will help to achieve the SDGs. However, that policy element will take time to realise, and will require further research before we begin. How should we gauge how much an investment contributes to these themes, for example? What investors should we involve? How can we ensure that the policy remains affordable and easy to put into practice? We hope to be able to realise this implementation before the end of the year.

Rendering account

Details of how we will render account for our responsible investments are provided in the ‘Did you know’ item of this newsletter. Nevertheless, I would like to mention it here too. You can find detailed information on our website, and we have added new information during the past few months. For example, we now include details about the investments in the portfolio. Every calendar quarter, we will share information of our dialogue about sustainability themes with companies that we invest in. You can also see how often we voted for or against companies’ motions at shareholder meetings.

Jasper Kemme
Algemeen Directeur