‘Stop deforestation with our money’

WUR staff wants ABP to stop investing their money in the deforestation of the Amazon.
Photo: Shutterstock

Thus states the petition signed by 430 professors, researchers and support staff. The petition calls on the executive board to move against the ABP. The executive board, in the person of Rens Buchwaldt, has agreed to enter into dialogue with the signors. This dialogue is planned for next week.

Ethically uncomfortable

The signors of the petition state that investments in deforestations are at odds with all that WUR stands for in its education and research. ‘It is ethically uncomfortable to teach and research on the impact of deforestation on the environment and society, while at the same time, investments are made in deforestation on our behalf.’

The investment in question is in livestock farming in the Amazon, the main driving force behind deforestation. According to the petitioners, the ABP does too little to combat deforestation. In fact, they claim, the pension fund does not excel in sustainable investments at all. They call for more transparency in this issue.

Message

The initiators (professors Marielos Pena Claros and Edward Huijbens, and researchers Bas Verschuuren, Margriet Goris, Verina Ingram and Jelle Behagel) are happy the executive board has agreed to a dialogue. They want WUR’s management to get behind the initiative. They hope other universities will join as well so that the ABP gets a widely supported message.

The ABP is a retirement fund for those employed in education or government services. WUR’s affiliation with the fund is mandatory. This is not the first time the ABP is criticised. Last year, a group of members of the WUR-community protested investments in oil drilling in the north pole area.

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