ABP, World’s Fifth Largest Pension Fund, Divests from Forest Destroyer, But Retains Stake in Parent Company

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

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Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

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Following a major outcry in the Netherlands, the world’s fifth largest pension fund –  the Dutch national pension fund ABP – has announced that it is divesting €300,000 from a Korean company, Posco Daewoo, which has destroyed 66,718 acres of pristine rainforests in Papua, Indonesia for palm oil plantations.

Unfortunately, ABP is maintaining its much larger €157 million investment in Posco Daewoo’s parent company, Posco.

“Less than half a million dollars is chump change for a company like Posco,” said Glenn Hurowitz, Mighty Earth CEO. “ABP needs to stop greenwashing and get serious about fighting deforestation.”

In 2015, the Norwegian Pension Fund divested from both Posco Daewoo and Posco following a thorough investigation by its Ethics Council.

“Norway got it right – Posco’s massive deforestation and land grabbing isn’t something to play games with,” said Rolf Schipper, Campaign Leader Forests at Milieudefensie. “If ABP wants to be seen as a responsible trustee of Dutch resources, they have to stop financing rogue actors like Posco, period.”

ABP, which has €347 billion in assets under management, has been under intense pressure from the Dutch public following a series of media exposés about its financing of Posco’s deforestation, including an in-depth feature on the national television show Kassa in May.

Posco has also been under intense pressure in its home country of South Korea for deforestation and human rights abuse that casts aspersions on the reputation of Korean industry worldwide.

Hye Lyn Kim, International Cooperation Campaigner at Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, said: “It’s time for Posco Daewoo to turn over a new leaf and commit to a permanent end to its role in the destruction of the world’s priceless rainforests. The company should take immediate action and join the growing list of progressive plantation companies which have already adopted comprehensive zero deforestation policies.”

In an article in Politico Europe, Posco Daewoo committed to “not clear any more trees ‘until a professional consulting firm in a field of environmental management gives proper advice on the area.’” However, the company has refused to make the kind of permanent commitment to No Deforestation that almost all major palm oil companies are implementing – making it an outlier on environmental protection.

Photographs and video of Posco Daewoo oil palm operations in Papua: Download here.

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