Pension Fund of the Year: PFZW (PGGM)

Channels: IMPACT

Companies: PFZW, PGGM

People: Piet Klop

Netherlands-based PFZW has been awarded pension fund of the year, in recognition of asset manager PGGM consistently placing impact at the forefront of operations.

In 2014, PFZW issued the mandate to make investments worth €20 billion ($24 billion) by the end of 2020 in solutions for four social issues: climate change; water shortages; food security; and health care. These investments not only contributed financially to the returns for clients, but also create social added value. At the end of 2019, a total of €18.3 billion had been invested in solutions for these themes.

To build on these targets, PFZW took the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guide in its new investment policy, which runs from 2020 to 2025. From 2020, under a mandate from PFZW, PGGM is to invest more in financing linked to the SDGs, the volume of which it has tracked since 2018.

Piet Klop, senior advisor for responsible investment at PGGM, said: "We need to keep our eye on the ball. If we say the words 'outcome' or 'impact', ideally we should be able to demonstrate how exactly we improve outcomes for real people, and the environment, in the real world."

In September 2019, PGGM and its Dutch asset manager peer APG announced it would develop a Sustainable Development Investments (SDI) Asset Owner Platform – a "globally consistent measurement framework" to assess their portfolio investments' contribution to the SDGs.  AustralianSuper and British Colombia Investment Management Corporation have since joined the platform.

The idea for the platform was born in 2016, when a group of investors, including APG, PGGM, Sweden's AP pension funds, MN, Actiam and Kempen, at the behest of their pension fund clients, put forward a common definition of SDIs.