Dutch giant ABP adds Yemen and two nuclear weapons-linked firms to exclusion list

Yemen dropped from investment universe over UN arms embargo

ABP, the €373bn Dutch civil service pension scheme, has added Yemen and two industrial groups to its exclusion list.

It won’t invest in bonds from Yemen due to the UN Security Council’s arms embargo on the country. With the addition of Yemen, it now excludes 12 countries such as Iran, Iraq and Somalia. The UN approved an arms embargo against the Houthi rebels in April amid a worsening humanitarian situation.

Alongside the Yemen exclusion, ABP is also barring India-based industrial group Walchandnagar and South Korea’s S&T Dynamics.

The former is being excluded for its role in making nuclear weapons for the Indian government. It follows an earlier exit for a similar reason from India-based Larsen & Toubro.

S & T Dynamics is being ruled out for its involvement in the production of anti-personnel mines. The latest developments mean the influential investor now excludes 19 companies for breaching its responsible investment guidelines.In May ABP said it had almost doubled the proportion of “highly sustainable” investments over the last year, to 8.5% of its investment portfolio last year.

Half of these investments consisted of real estate that met the highest sustainability criteria of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).

The fund said that it wanted to further raise its sustainability target for investments in companies, but said that it would provide details after the summer.

Last month the fund responded to a survey by the Trouw newspaper that 60% of pension beneficiaries wanted their pension funds to withdraw from fossil fuel businesses. ABP Chair Corien Wortmann-Kool, the former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Christian Democratic party who was appointed earlier this year, argued that immediately stopping fossil fuel investments was “not the solution”. It was better to gradually decrease its investments and up its renewable energy investments. It was important, she said, that ABP use its influence as a shareholder to make the fossil fuel industry sustainable. ABP’s latest exclusion list is available here.