Netherlands: ASN Bank Completely Divests from Big Alcohol
Dutch Bank ASN and ASN investment funds no longer invest money from customers in companies that produce alcoholic beverages. The shares and loans from ASN are now alcohol-free.
In May 2018, IOGT International had previously reported that ASN Bank had decided to remove Heineken from its sustainable equity fund. The reason for ASN’s decision were the revelations of Heineken’s practice to use beer girls to sell their products in Africa. An ASN spokesperson explained:
We have had discussions about this with Heineken and at this moment we do not see that enough is being done.”
The revelations were uncovered by investigative journalist Olivier van Beemen. In the wake of the publication of his book ‘Beer for Africa’ the beer giant has come under intense scrutiny for their unethical business practices.
Complete divestment from Big Alcohol
ASN’s divestment from the alcohol industry is complete and comprises the beer, wine and liquor industries. In anticipation of its plans to divest from Big Alcohol, ASN Investment Funds recently sold its investments in French beverage producer Pernod Ricard. ASN also decided to divest from retail stores selling alcohol, at least if the alcohol turnover exceeds 10% of the total turnover.
The new alcohol policy applies to ASN Bank and ASN Investment Funds and furthermore to BLG Wonen, RegioBank and SNS, in short: the other brands of the Volksbank.
The tightened policy is in line with ASN Bank and ASN Investment Funds’ starting point: investments must contribute to a sustainable and fair society. Earlier ASN decided not to invest money in the tobacco industry.
Alcohol (industry) major obstacle to development
Analysis conducted by IOGT International shows that alcohol is a major obstacle to sustainable development. Alcohol adversely impacts 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and more than 50 of the 169 targets in the 2030 Agenda. For example, alcohol fuels poverty and hunger, ill-health, violence, gender inequality, economic losses and even environmental dgradation, water and food insecurity and the climate crisis.
All this means that the alcohol industry, with their systemic unethical practices and dependence on heavy alcohol users for the bulk of their profits, is a major driver of under-development, injustices and death and disease.
For example, analysis shows that the alcohol industry is interfering against life saving public policy measures that protect the public from alcohol harm.