On July 5, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth) published a report rating the climate action plans of 29 major Dutch companies. The report has taken a critical stance about the organizations it has examined – including Aegon – and their progress and transparency in combatting climate change. We appreciate the insights the report offers and will reflect on those.
We are making progress on our climate action plans, yet recognize that we need to increase our efforts and continuously look for opportunities to sharpen our sustainability ambitions and reporting as we continue on our journey.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Proactively addressing that challenge and protecting the health of our planet is the responsibility of all and is fully aligned with our purpose of helping people live their best lives. We feel it is our duty to help prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change and are committed to continue responsible actions to help build a more sustainable world.
Accelerating our climate ambition
In 2021, we identified two sustainability priority themes: Climate Change and Inclusion & Diversity. In this context we have embarked on a journey to transition Aegon's investment portfolio to net-zero emissions by 2050. This commitment includes an intermediate target to reduce the carbon intensity of our corporate fixed income and listed equity general account assets by 25% in 2025 versus 2019.
Collaboration is crucial to deliver real solutions required to mitigate climate change. We engage with clients, business partners and other stakeholders, including Milieudefensie and many other NGOs to work together both in supply chains and at industry level. We use our influence as investor to encourage the companies we invest in to act in the interests of society and the environment. If they do not meet our standards, we may stop investing in those companies.
The report from Milieudefensie not only highlights the room for growth for individual companies, but emphasizes the need to collaborate and leverage each other’s expertise to accelerate the journey towards a carbon neutral world in 2050. We cannot do it alone and we look forward to continuing and establishing collaborations and constructive dialogues that help us protect the health of our planet as the lives of current and future generations extend. While a longer life is a beautiful thing, you have to be able to enjoy it in a clean, healthy, and safe environment.