Sweden’s largest pension fund swears off fossil fuels

The fund is divesting from fossil fuel in light of demand for sustainable fund investments. — Reuters pic
The fund is divesting from fossil fuel in light of demand for sustainable fund investments. — Reuters pic

STOCKHOLM, June 29 — Sweden’s largest pension fund, with over US$70 billion under management, said Monday it would sell off assets in fossil fuel industries, as part of a “growing climate awareness”.

AP7, a state-run pension fund that manages pensions for more that four million Swedes, said the decision was based on “market analysis and risk estimation”.

“The risk of fossil investing is estimated to increase substantially,” the fund said in a statement.

“The decision to divest from fossil fuel also resonates with a growing climate awareness and demand for sustainable fund investments among AP7’s clients,” it added.

AP7 intends to sell its assets in companies that are “extracting, refining and distributing power from coal, oil and gas for more than five percent of their total production”, a spokesman told AFP.

Affected companies accounted for “way over three percent” of AP7’s assets, and the plan was for divestments to begin immediately in order to reach the goal of “overall carbon neutrality” by 2030.

The fund currently has holdings in oil giant BP, rival Royal Dutch Shell, and US-based Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

AP7 has a total capital of around 670 billion Swedish kronor $72 billion or 64 billion euros).

In neighbouring Norway, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world, announced in 2019 that it would divest from certain oil companies in order to reduce the country’s exposure to oil, however it excluded major players like Exxon Mobil and Total.

In May, the wealth fund placed 12 new companies on its blacklist, including mining giants such as Switzerland’s Glencore and Britain’s Anglo American - and energy companies such as Germany’s RWE, Australia’s AGL Energy and South Africa’s Sasol, because of their dependence on coal. — AFP

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