Greenpeace Luxembourg today announced that it has secured a partial win in its legal dispute over the reportedly climate-damaging investments of Luxembourg’s sovereign pension fund, the FDC.
According to the Greenpeace Luxembourg, the Administrative Court has declared the NGO's legal action against Luxembourg's Minister of Social Security, Romain Schneider, "admissible". The judge underlined in his ruling that the Minister in question did not respect his legal obligation to respond to Greenpeace Luxembourg's letter, sent at the beginning of August. The judge also confirmed that the information requested by Greenpeace about the greenhouse gas emissions and the climate-related financial risks associated with the pension fund’s investments is considered as environmental information within the meaning of Law on Access to Environmental Information.
According to the Court, however, there is no legal basis for the Minister to either comply with the Paris Agreement or to possess the climate-relevant information requested by Greenpeace Luxembourg. Given this decision, Greenpeace has called on the government to create the legal basis that obliges the pension fund to reshape its investment policy so that it protects the climate and people’s pensions.
Philippe Penning, lawyer for Greenpeace Luxembourg, commented: "In today's judgment, the Court underlined that the Minister for Social Security is only required to supervise, but not to actively shape the pension fund’s investment policy in the interest of the general public and the environment. Simply put, this means that the pension fund’s board of directors can do what they want with the money of the contributors, without taking climate protection and environmental concerns or the interests of pension fund beneficiaries into account".
In addition, the judge pointed out that the Paris Agreement stipulates that "financial flows [must be made] consistent with a path towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development". However, Greenpeace has claimed that the judge interpreted the Agreement as not legally binding under international law since “it does not provide a coercive mechanism or any sanctions for states that do not meet their obligations”.
Martina Holbach, Climate and Finance Campaigner at Greenpeace Luxembourg, commented: "Greenpeace expects the government to take immediate action to create a legal basis for Luxembourg’s sovereign pension fund to end its investments in climate-damaging companies in the coal, oil and gas sectors. A government that expects everyone to be committed to climate protection should not be able to evade its responsibility. Given the climate crisis, the pension fund’s investments in climate-damaging companies must stop immediately to protect the climate as well as the pensions of current and future generations".