ABN AMRO aims to double sustainable investments and make it the norm for new clients

Dutch banking giant will work with institutional investors

Dutch banking giant ABN AMRO has said that sustainable investments will be the “norm” for its new private and retail banking clients in the Netherlands as it bids to double its sustainable client assets to €18bn.

“As from 2018, sustainable investments will be the norm for new Private and Retail Banking clients in the Netherlands,” CEO Kees van Dijkhuizen said as the bank announced its third-quarter earnings yesterday.

“We will also be contacting existing clients to discuss a – purely voluntary – switchover from traditional to sustainable investments.

“Our goal is to double the volume of sustainable client assets in the next three years from €8bn to €16bn.” It came as the bank disclosed an 11% increase in net profit to €673m, against the prior year period.

Van Dijkhuizen said the bank’s commitment to sustainable banking was reflected in a further improvement in its RobecoSAM annual sustainability assessment (the basis for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index).

He said a score of 91 points out of 100 – compared with 87 points in 2016 – means ABN AMRO “is one of the best performing banks worldwide in this ranking”.

ABN AMRO said it would be stepping up its engagement with companies and investment funds that do not yet qualify for inclusion in its sustainable investment portfolio.It added: “Where possible, the bank will pool its engagement efforts with other financial market participants, such as institutional investors.

“If any companies or fund managers fail to respond positively to continued engagement, the bank will eventually end its business relationship with them.”

“The bank will eventually end its business relationship with them.”

Meanwhile, rival ING has today released an item on its website called A polar warning featuring climate change campaigner Bernice Notenboom.

In a Q&A, she is asked: “What would you do if you were a banker for a day?”

Her answer: “I’d start a divestment programme to get out of fossil fuels, and an ambitious investing plan for renewable energy. The world just doesn’t need those polluting fossil fuels anymore, not even the maritime industry (Bernice this year made a critical film on the maritime industry, Sea Blind – Ed.). And I’d invest much more in the circular economy and waste management. Why do we keep putting things in plastics? We now even find plastic on the North Pole, in the stomachs of fish that we eat. The whole way of thinking needs to change.”