Dutch pensions sector initiates IRBC negotiations

The Dutch pensions sector, the Dutch government, trade unions and NGOs have agreed to work together in the months ahead on an agreement promoting international responsible business conduct (IRBC). In March 2017, the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds published the Pension Funds IRBC Declaration of Intent indicating its willingness to work towards an IRBC agreement.

Agreement for the Pension Funds © Shutterstock

The Dutch pension funds see the agreement as a means towards further applying the standards of responsible investment. Negotiations between the relevant parties have now begun under the supervision of the Netherlands’ Social and Economic Council (SER).


The negotiating partners are the Dutch pensions sector, represented by the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds and some of its members, the Dutch government, trade unions FNV and CNV, and the NGOs Amnesty International Netherlands, Natuur & Milieu, Oxfam Novib, Pax, Save the Children, Wo=Men and World Animal Protection.

Basic principles

The agreements that the parties will conclude in the months ahead and the results that they aim to achieve are based on the SER’s advisory report on IRBC agreements and the policy of the Dutch Government and Parliament regarding international responsible business conduct. In concluding and implementing these agreements, the parties will focus on embedding sector-specific, national and international principles of responsible investment even more firmly in policy, more specifically:

  • the standards for responsible investment identified in the Code of the Dutch Pension Funds, as well as the relevant statutory provisions
  • the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)
  • the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

The sector

The sector is represented by the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds, which represents almost all Dutch pensions funds (about 220 in all). The vast majority of Dutch working people are members of a group pension fund. The funds invest some 1200 billion euros annually, much of this worldwide. They manage the pensions of approximately 5.3 million members, 3 million pensioners, and 9.1 million former members.