More than 150 equity funds that profile themselves as extremely sustainable in Belgium also invest in polluting companies. This is evident from an investigation by journalists in nine European countries, in which De Tijd participated, the newspaper writes on Tuesday.

More and more Belgians invest in dark green funds that promise not to invest in companies that ‘significantly’ harm people and the environment. In Belgium, 16.8 billion euros is already invested in dark green funds, or 7 percent of Belgians’ assets in funds.

A group of European journalists screened 838 dark green funds offered in Europe and screened the more than 130,000 investments of those funds. Almost half of the funds (388) were found to invest in one or more companies active in fossil fuels or aviation. Of these, 155 funds are also offered on the Belgian market. They invest in 582 fossil fuel companies, together representing an invested amount of 3.6 billion euros. In 108 funds, 1.9 billion euros even concerned companies that are also active in coal. In the portfolios of the funds, the journalists also found eight of the twenty most polluting companies in the world.

The Belgian regulator FSMA acknowledges that the European rules and the supervision of dark green funds are not sufficient. “As a Belgian regulator, we will check that, but we do not yet have the tools to do that,” says FSMA president Jean-Paul Servais. He accuses the European Commission of already introducing the system with the dark green funds while the European definitions of sustainable investment are not yet ready.

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