At the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris (COP21) in December 2015, participating countries agreed to take measures to keep global warming significantly below two degrees, relative to pre-industrial era. The agreement struck in Paris requires the Netherlands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%-95% by 2050.
Aegon has fully embraced these international climate goals, and recognizes that important decisions now need to be made in the Netherlands. "We have a simple choice: wait and postpone any action. Or act now," said Harald Walkate, Head of Responsible Investment at Aegon Asset Management. "We've chosen the latter, and are making it a priority."
Together with 39 other companies, Aegon has formed a 'Transition Coalition' to help accelerate the energy transition as quickly as possible. "A successful energy transition will require a significant commitment from citizens, governments and companies," said Walkate.
A quick and successful implementation relies on a robust, multi-year policy framework. The Transition Coalition presented four concrete proposals to the climate conference, which will not only benefit the climate, but at the same time it will help the Dutch economy.
Establish a climate law that will achieve the goals established in Paris, including concrete interim targets for 2030 and 2040;
Appoint a single minister with overall responsibility for the economy, climate and energy to ensure consistent policies;
Appoint an independent climate authority, that binds parties and leads to quick and consistent implementation, and independent assurance that agreements are met across successive cabinets; and
Establish a national investment bank that makes investments in ongoing innovation and large-scale energy projects possible.
The current 'Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth' outlines the Netherlands ambitions for 2020 and 2023, including making the Dutch energy supply more sustainable and measures for saving energy and increasing the share of renewable energy.
Impact on long-term planning
For the period following this, there is as yet no agreement, which according to Walkate is particularly challenging for long-term investors like Aegon. "Given the significant uncertainties around climate change and the long-term nature of these effects, it is exceedingly difficult to assess climate-related investment risks.
"By joining this coalition we're calling on the Dutch government to provide clarity on the measures they will take to live up to the Paris agreement, and to create stable mechanisms that will ensure these measures are implemented."