Health and investment: How are the 237 billion euro of the German professional pension funds invested?

Translated title of the contribution: Health and investment: How are the 237 billion euro of the German professional pension funds invested?

Frederick Schneider, Matthias Neumair, Dieter Lehmkuhl, Alexander Schult, Klaus Michael Ahrend, Gunther Friedl, Christian M. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Exceeding ecological limits through climate crisis, loss of biodiversity, altered biogeochemical cycles and novel substances is dangerous and leads to increased morbidity. Hence, financial assets should be divested from hazardous industries and re-allocated to support the transformation to an economy that keeps activities within ecological limits. The present study investigates how sustainability criteria are applied to the assets of German pension funds. Methods: A survey containing 26 items on 1) business practice, 2) implementation of sustainability strategies, 3) application of ESG criteria to investment decisions, and 4) projects and goals was sent to each and every of 93 German professional pension funds. Furthermore, their annual business reports and publications were analyzed for information on sustainability efforts. Results: 37 of 93 pension funds responded to our survey, 8 of them returned the query. All agreed that ESG criteria are part of their business culture. Predominantly, they adhere to common standards for sustainable investments (UNPRI [United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment], 75 % approval); yet, they do not exclude the production of goods that are potentially harmful to health (e.g., tobacco and alcohol). Discussion: A minority of the participating pension funds agrees that ESG criteria are part of their business culture. However, only few of them provide information about their actual application. Nevertheless, there are pension funds that do not respect sustainability criteria in an appropriate way, and thus take unnecessary financial risks and invest in harmful industries.

Translated title of the contributionHealth and investment: How are the 237 billion euro of the German professional pension funds invested?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalZeitschrift fur Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualitat im Gesundheitswesen
Volume174
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Planetary health
  • Professional pension funds
  • Retirement provision
  • Sustainable finance

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