Sustainability is an integral part of our corporate culture and the asset management is based on three principal pillars: active engagement, positive selection and exclusion. Our view is that responsible investing is a requirement for long-term and sustainable value creation. Responsible investments include integrating environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors into investment processes and decisions to better manage risks and opportunities.
Resource scarcity, environmental changes and demographic shifts are challenges that the world is facing. These challenges are closely intertwined with climate change and of great importance in our investment processes and decisions. Key environmental characteristics that we promote are reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable eco-systems.
Poverty, health, and equality are a few of many social factors implemented in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Integrating social factors is crucial to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The main social characteristic that the entire Söderberg & Partners group targets is equal opportunities for children, through for example working against child labour and promoting education.
Good governance practices are a precondition for attaining sustainable characteristics. Sound management structures, employee relations, remuneration of staff, and tax compliance are taken into consideration when assessing governance practices.
We want to encourage other fund managers and companies to be compliant with international norms and conventions and manage their business in a more sustainable manner. We will engage for positive outcomes with the ambition of aligning corporate outputs with improving ESG characteristics.
The engagement may be exercised by one or several of the following activities:
– participation and voting at general meetings;
– collaborative engagement; and
– various types of constructive dialogues with, among others, the management of the company, ESG-teams, other investors, and partners.
Our Policy for Shareholder Engagement can be found here.
Although sustainability is an important investment strategy across all fund ranges of Söderberg & Partners, we have developed an ESG thematic fund, Aktiv Påverkan, where the main focus is on active engagement. For more information on this strategy click here.
In the management of the funds, we utilize a sustainability rating (“Sustainability rating”) generated by another entity within the Söderberg & Partners Group. Funds with a better Sustainability rating are preferred when selecting investments. In addition, the consideration of ESG characteristics is controlled through a sustainability questionnaire that is addressed to the managers of the target funds.
Our main principle is to use our influence to bring about positive changes in the investments, rather than to exclude and divest. The target funds are assessed through semi-annual screenings using data on the underlying holdings from Morningstar and is manually controlled through the exclusion lists published by Norges Bank Investment Management and the Swedish Seventh AP Fund. Our funds do not invest in companies or target funds that do not show a willingness to comply with our Policy for Responsible Investments or where the we deem that the management is not likely to address the problematic issues stated below within an acceptable time frame:
– companies that manufacture, modernize, sell or buy products that are specially designed for controversial weapons or nuclear weapons;
– companies for which thermal coal accounts for more than 30 per cent of the turnover;
– companies with turnover derived from pornography or tobacco; and
– companies that violate international norms and conventions related to the environment, human rights, labour rights and business ethics, e.g. the UN Global Compact and the OECD guidelines for multinational companies.
No more than 5 per cent of a company’s turnover may be derived from these activities, unless otherwise stated. The Company can accept deviations from the exclusion criteria if a company is transitioning towards a more sustainable business.
Information on the exposure to controversial business activities is collected from the data provider Sustainalytics. Sustainalytics collects information from publicly available presentations published by the Investee companies, through direct contact with the Investee companies and media.
The Sustainability rating of funds is an assessment based on self-reported information about fund managers’ and fund companies’ sustainability work. The rating covers two perspectives: Positive selection and Responsible ownership. To obtain the analytical framework, publicly available material is used, and surveys are sent to fund managers with questions about their sustainability work. The answers are often followed by additional queries and meetings are held to discuss the answers when needed. The aggregated rating (Responsible ownership and Positive selection) is used in the investment decision when selecting and evaluating a fund manager and a fund. In existing investments, a systematic annual follow-up is conducted in combination with a discussion with fund managers or ESG analysts.
Positive selection assesses the fund manager’s internal processes and incentives to select companies that have a high sustainability performance. The fund manager’s access to sustainability analysis and data to make informed choices is taken into consideration, and their incentives to actively use and integrate this information into the investment process. Fund managers can, through positive selection, select holdings that are better at managing sustainability risks, as well as measure and follow up the fund’s sustainability risks. The Positive selection rating is based on the following criteria:
– Access to sustainability analysis
– Integration of sustainability analysis
– Education for sustainability
– Incentives and follow-up work on the fund’s holdings
– Potential sustainability theme
Responsible ownership assesses how the fund managers as owners try to influence companies in a more sustainable direction. The sustainability analysis assesses the number of impact dialogues conducted, ESG issues, and if the dialogues are held in the regions which the fund is invested in. Fund managers can, through responsible ownership, draw attention to their holdings regarding sustainability risks and call for adequate management of these risks. The Responsible ownership rating is based on the following criteria:
– Identification and prioritization of proactive engagement work
– Engagement dialogues
Traffic light system
Green ratings are awarded to funds whose managers have tools and incentives for selecting sustainable companies and actively engaging.
A yellow rating indicates that the fund manager has sufficient tools to select sustainable companies, or alternatively to try to influence companies that are not considered particularly sustainable.
A red rating implies that the fund has less prerequisites and primarily conducts a reactive impact work, if any sustainability work is performed.
All our funds promote environmental or social characteristics according to Article 8 of the Regulation (EU) 2019/2088, but do not have sustainable investments as their objective. The primary focus of our funds’ investments is other UCITS funds and exchange traded derivatives. However, our funds aim to invest in target funds that promote environmental or social characteristics, or in target funds that demonstrate improving sustainable characteristics to the extent possible while considering financial metrics.
We monitor the adherence to environmental or social characteristics on a continuous basis through dialogues with the target funds. The internal research is also supplemented by externally sourced research. Policies and procedures are developed to ensure that the target funds meet our stance on responsible investing and our activities relating to ESG is overseen by a Responsible Investment Committee.
More product-specific information can be found here.
Principal adverse impact
Upon and during an investment, we assess and monitor indicators that are deemed to indicate the presence of a principal adverse impact. We address adverse impacts with the same approach as for sustainability risks. We exclude any investments that may significantly harm an objective for sustainable investments.
We have signed the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which is the leading international initiative for responsible investments for companies in the financial sector. We have also signed the TCFD and The Investor Agenda, which are agendas on climate change that are comprehensive and focused on accelerating investor action for a net-zero emissions economy. Söderberg & Partners is also a member of Swesif, which is an independent and non-profit organization advocating sustainable investments in Sweden.