Dutch MP seeks clarification upon local financials' role in ‘water theft’

On the 01/26/21 at 7:41AM


Adrien Paredes-Vanheule

Dutch parliamentary member Lammert Van Raan questions local finance minister over commodification of water among others.

A series of features published in the last couple of weeks by Dutch financial media Follow the Money (FtM) has provoked a controversy upon investments of the Dutch financial sector. Against a background of water rising scarcity providing an opportunity for investors, FtM’s reports explain the role of the Dutch financial sector in the phenomenon of global water theft and that local financials pay little attention to sustainable water. Between 30% and 50% of the planet’s water supply is being stolen every year as estimated last August by a team of researchers in the journal Nature.

The reports have triggered questions on Friday from Dutch parliamentary member Lammert Van Raan, co-founder of the Dutch Party for the Animals (PvdD), to the Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra. The MP had sent a first round of questions last December to Hoekstra's cabinet over bidoverisity loss, sustainable finance and the action of local financials on these topics. In the new string of questions, Van Raan, relying on FtM reports, asks whether the Dutch finance minister acknowledges the right to access water as a human right and if his cabinet is wlling to draw any plans to counter the commodification of water. He also asks his thoughts about this phenomenon. Moreover, Van Raan surveys the minister on ways to ensure that Dutch financials integrate sustainable water policies in their operations, including asset management, and on potential plans to ban any financing that would directly or indirectly contributes to water theft.

Pensioen Federatie, the Dutch federation of pension funds, stated that “the sector is collaborating in various projects to make investments more sustainable, also within the scope of the IMVB Covenant.” The IMVB Covenant is a national climate agreement that was signed on 10 July 2019 by Dutch financials representing 80% to 90% of assets managed in the Netherlands (or around €3trn). It targets a 49% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (i.e. 48.7 megatons) in the Netherlands by 2030 compared to 1990. Signatories must disclose the carbon footprint of their financing and investments as from the 2020 financial report and shall be able to present an action plan in order to limit the impact by 2022 at the latest.