With as many as 19 climate proposals discussed at 10 general meetings, the climate was again in focus at this year’s general meetings of Danish pension funds.

Among these proposals, 9 proposals on climate were adopted with the support of the Board. One proposal was voted through without the support of the board, and a total of 9 climate proposals were not adopted. In addition, 2 proposals were submitted, but subsequently withdrawn because the proposals had already been implemented before the actual general meeting was held.

As a result of the general meetings’ adopted proposals in 2021, the most important progress is that a further 6 pension funds (Arkitekterne, PJD, ISP, Lægernes Pensionskasse, PKA and AP Pension) have decided to join the international investor coalition Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA). As a member of this coalition, the pension companies pledge, among other things, to make their investments climate neutral by 2050, as well as to deliver a CO2 reduction of between 16-29% for the portfolio until 2025. The alliance also recommends its members to divest all companies that continues to establish new coal mines, as well as intensifying their active ownership.

In addition, 3 pension companies (Arkitekterne, PJD and ISP) have decided to identify and divest companies that lobby against the Paris Agreement. At Lægernes Pension, they have committed to divest coal companies with more than 5% of the turnover from coal extraction. PKA and AP Pension will divest oil and gas companies that have not presented a Paris-compatible business model by the end of 2022 and 2023, respectively. At Arkitekternes Pensionskasse, a majority of the members have voted to sell oil & gas companies with more than 50% of the turnover from fossil energy.

At P +, they have decided, that any future optional investment products must have a strong focus on climate responsibility. At AkademikerPension, a proposal to divest fossil bonds was not adopted, but the board of the pension fund has stated that it will initiate an analysis of whether it believes it is possible to sell the bonds and at the same time maintain a good return with low risk.

In addition to the general meetings, there has also been an election to the board of Pensionskassen P +, and here it was very remarkable that the 2 candidates who received the largest number of votes in the election, Helle Munk Ravnborg and Katrine Ehnhuus, were among the candidates who ran with a very strong focus on climate responsibility. The members of P + have thus clearly stated that they want P + to continue to give high priority to the climate agenda.

The experience from the general meetings also shows that the boards in some cases like to support a more climate-responsible policy, which is a trend that has been significantly strengthened as it has become increasingly clear that fossil investments over a number of years have delivered lower returns than fossil-free investments. However, billions of Danish pension kroner are still invested in fossil fuel companies which both oppose the international political efforts for a rapid green transition, just as the fossil companies’ own conversion to green energy is still very slow and irresponsible.

The pension customers´ continued pressure on the pension boards for more climate-responsible investments is therefore absolutely central if we are to succeed in getting the Danes’ pension investments to combine high returns with climate responsibility.