Danish pension funds back 'green transition' with $50 billion

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish private pension funds on Monday pledged to invest more than $50 billion in green assets over the next decade to fight climate change, as part of Denmark’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% in 2030.

FILE PHOTO: Head of The Social Democrat, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, delivers her opening speech at the Social Democratic Congress in Aalborg, Denmark, September 14, 2019. Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS

The funds will invest 350 billion Danish crowns ($52 billion) in energy infrastructure, green stocks and bonds and energy efficient construction up to 2030, Danish pensions industry association Insurance and Pension Denmark said in a statement.

The investment was first announced on Sunday by Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen at a news conference in New York before the summit.

Frederiksen recently took office on promises of setting a 70% reduction target in greenhouse gas emissions, one of the world’s most ambitious, by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

“Now we need to work on getting international investors on board. That is imperative to realize the green transition globally,” Frederiksen said in a statement.

The funds will bring the total green investments to 511 billion crowns. Danish private pension funds, which doesn’t include public pension fund ATP, currently hold assets worth 3,100 billion crowns.

Environmental groups say the New York climate summit is coming at a crucial time, as extreme weather events and spiking temperatures affect more people in more parts of the globe.

Denmark’s biggest private pension provider, PFA Pension, which manages more than 600 billion Danish crowns, will focus investments in offshore wind farms and photovoltaic energy as well as climate-friendly properties and energy storage.

“There are quite big financing needs in many energy projects,” Allan Polack, PFA’s chief executive told Reuters and said PFA would invest in both shares and bonds as well as stakes in unlisted companies and projects.

“But the exciting thing about the energy sector is the transformation. We are trying to get BP, Shell and Total and others to adapt and become far more climate friendly in their energy production,” Polack said.

More than 90 big companies, including Denmark’s wind turbine maker Vestas and wind farm developer Orsted, both market leaders, have promised to slash emissions in a new campaign launched ahead of Monday’s climate summit.

Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard. Editing by Jane Merriman, Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and David Evans