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Doing Good by Doing Well – investing in a better climatee

Doing good and doing well – this is the key tenet of the Danish labour market pension fund, PensionDanmark, and is reflected in all their activities. When a member of PensionDanmark, switches on their light at home, they can feel secure knowing that the energy used to power the bulb is green, renewable and paid for with their own investment. Sustainability is an important issue in the public and corporate spheres, with sustainable measures that change both corporate strategies and public lifestyles introduced at an increasing speed. But such measures cannot happen without significant investment.

PensionDanmark, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, understands the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the Global Goals) and of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. With over 700,000 members – primarily blue-collar workers – PensionDanmark invests in assets including sustainable real estate and renewable energy infrastructure. 

In 2010, the pension fund made their first investments into renewable energy infrastructure. Now, with ownership of over 3,600 gigawatts of yearly green power production capacity, approximately 10% of PensionDanmark’s total assets are invested in wind farms, solar power and biomass power plants. As such, long-term investors have invested into assets that are positively contributing to reducing CO2 emissions. PensionDanmark are facilitating a green transformation in a manner allowing their members to receive returns based on sustainable growth; in this way the company is proving that investment in large-scale, clean energy projects is good business. 

In 2012, PensionDanmark founded and was the sole investor of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). CIP is a specialised investment vehicle for companies including PensionDanmark and manages investments in renewable energy infrastructure. Through investments in biomass, onshore and offshore wind power in the UK, US and Taiwan that collectively create many gigawatts of energy across several different projects, CIP generates significant investment opportunities. Additionally, PensionDanmark has partnered with developers to innovate new sustainable real estate methods. The initiative develops properties from housing to court buildings, hospitals and offices. With sustainability in mind from the outset, PensionDanmark’s real estate team invest in and develop properties to ensure value for their tenants and communities in their operating areas. 

At the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 PensionDanmark announced its role in the founding of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. This new alliance with 15 other pension funds is committed to ensuring that their total investment portfolios are CO2 neutral by 2050 and, with other pension funds joining the alliance, by 2019 it covered assets of more than 4,000 billion US dollars with a target of at least 10 trillion US dollars by the end of 2020. This alliance and its mission is a clear demonstration that the international pension fund sector is delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement through private capital.

Sustainability is not a costless enterprise; investment is required to make real change. PensionDanmark, through their commitments, collaborations and investments, ensure that their members contribute to a green transition. Should this become the standard for their sector, such investment can clearly offer environmental and economic benefits for business and members alike.

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