Climate activists: university need to bank more sustainable 


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Activist group Scientists for Future, Students for Tomorrow, the Young Academy and the local Young Academies want their colleges and universities to switch to financial service providers that are more climate-conscious. This is stated in a letter they sent to all higher education institutions on Tuesday.

They should take the lead on sustainability, according to the letter writers, stressing that there is scientific consensus on its importance. The universities and colleges committed to the Paris Agreement in 2015. They described what they themselves could contribute to it. 

Seven years after that Paris Agreement, all banks and insurers that knowledge institutions in the Netherlands work with are, according to the activists, "still major lenders to the fossil fuel sector, a sector whose plans contradict the target."

The letter states, for instance, that ING financed the fossil sector to the tune of $10.7 billion by 2021. Among the other banks, these are smaller but still substantial amounts. Only Triodos Bank, Volksbank and Bunq invest mainly in renewable energy. Insurers also invest in fossil companies, according to the letter writers. Of the nine largest insurers operating in the Netherlands, none would exclude fossil investments.

Pension fund ABP changed its investment policy earlier. After persistent criticism from universities and colleges, it decided to stop investing in fossil energy in 2021. (HOP, PvT)