Our view is that responsible investing is a requirement for long-term and sustainable value creation. Responsible investments include integrating environmental, social, and 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 United Nations Sustainable Developments Goals. Integrating social factors is crucial to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
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.
Sustainability is an integral part of our corporate culture, and our investments are based on three principal pillars to uphold this: exclusion screening, positive selection, and active engagement. The focus will be on the inclusion of sustainable companies and engagement in order to continue to support companies in their transition towards alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Developments Goals (“SDGs”) which are prioritized by us (“Targeted SDGs”):
Our main principle is to use our influence to bring about positive changes in the investments, rather than to exclude and divest. However, we conduct exclusion when the ability to influence the investment to align its operations with the Targeted SDGs is limited, or when an investment does not show a willingness to comply with our Policy for Responsible Investments, found here. The full exclusion criteria and our process for managing this (”Screening process”) are detailed in the Policy for Responsible Investments. We can accept deviations from the exclusion criteria if an investment is transitioning towards a more sustainable business.
For investments in 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. The Sustainability rating is explained in further detail below. In addition, the consideration of ESG characteristics is controlled through a sustainability questionnaire that is addressed to the managers of the funds in which we invest (“Target funds”).
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 based on the results of the exclusion screening, the Sustainability ratings of the Target funds, and alignment with the Targeted SDGs.
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 our fund ranges, we have developed an ESG thematic strategy, Aktiv Påverkan, where the main focus is on active engagement. More information on this strategy can be found here.
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: Responsible ownership and Positive selection. 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 Target 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 in accordance with 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. Our funds aim to primarily, where available, invest in Target funds with a sustainable investment objective. Secondarily, the funds aim to invest in Target funds that promote environmental and/or social characteristics, or in Target funds that demonstrate improvements of these characteristics, resulting in improved Sustainability ratings.
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 impacts (“PAIs”) on sustainability factors. A full statement on this can be found here. For Target funds, this is managed on a look-through basis using an internal tool and the full process (“PAI process”) is detailed in the Policy for Responsible 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. The foundation of PRI is six non-binding principles that we have implemented. We have also signed the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“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. The Söderberg & Partners Group is also a member of Swesif, which is an independent and non-profit organization advocating sustainable investments in Sweden.