Gerard Roest, FNV
Climate change is an urgent matter that really requires long term focus, systems thinking and commitment. This is in addition to finding shorter term solutions and remediation.
Gerard Roest, FNV
23
May
2016
|
11:24
Europe/Amsterdam

INTERVIEW - Meet the editorial board: Gerard Roest

Roel Menken has invited Gerard Roest to be the next participant in the relay interview: ‘Gerard has demonstrated that he is a strong believer in ESG and long-termism. As a pension officer at FNV, the leading Dutch federation of unions, Gerard is well acquainted with boardroom discussions on investing for the future.’

What is your personal motivation to SHIFT TO?

'I strongly believe in responsible investment. A long term focus is an absolute requirement for this, because it takes time for companies to outline and implement an ESG strategy.'

How does this fit into your professional ambitions?

'For several years I’ve been chairman of BPL (Bedrijfspensioenfonds voor de Landbouw) and this fund has become a frontrunner on ESG topics. With the investment choices made by BPL, we are leading by example. BPL is heralding the shift to FCLT and I feel we are obliged to show that long term investing is needed in today’s society.'

In your opinion, where should the financial industry be in seven years’ time?

'In seven years’ time there should no longer be any need for SHIFT TO. With the current acceleration of knowledge exchange (SHIFT TO is very important for this), and the strong examples of pioneering organisations that are already demonstrating best practices for the industry, I feel in seven years we should have all actually made the change from ‘talking to walking.’'

Who should we definitely hear from in this newsroom?

'As FNV, we have board representatives in more than 60 pension funds. In the coming months we will present an update of our ESG policy, and with that we want to make a difference. So any of those board reps could give fascinating and useful insights into the active state of long term investing.

I also would like to hear from Rens van Tilburg, an economist and columnist for De Volkskrant who is also the Executive Secretary at the Sustainable Finance Lab at Utrecht University.'

Which issue is most urgent in your view/field of work?

'Climate change is an urgent matter that really requires long term focus, systems thinking and commitment. This is in addition to finding shorter term solutions and remediation.'

Extra question from Roel Menken: To what extent is it possible for pension funds to shift their mindset to long-termism in the current environment of low funding ratios?

'They must simply make the choice to shift their mindset. Because of their long term obligations, pension funds are equipped par excellence for introducing long-termism. And I am convinced that long term thinking can only lead to better returns in the long run.'

Summary

The members of the editorial board of SHIFT TO all have professional but also very personal reasons to join this initiative. In a ‘relay interview’ we learn more about their motivations as they ask each other: ‘Why do you want to SHIFT TO?

Gerard Roest invites: Daniëlle Melis as the next participant to this ‘relay interview’.

Reason:' Daniëlle approaches this subject from an academic point of view and I am very curious what science has to say about this topic.'

And adds one question: 'Is there an academic line of reasoning to support the shift to long term investing?'