Evli’s responsible investment activities are based on the principles of responsible investing which are applied to all Wealth Management’s active investments. The company follows three procedures:
- Analysis of responsibility factors and calculation of ESG ratings*
- Monitoring of the principles of the UN’s Global Compact
- Active ownership and engagement.
Analysis of responsibility factors means active and regular analysis of investments from the perspective of ESG factors and calculating ESG ratings for funds. Most of Evli’s funds and model portfolios have earned an AA or A** rating, i.e. the investments in the funds take into account the ESG risks and opportunities within their own sector better than average.
The second procedure is that in its direct investments and own funds, Evli monitors the possible violations of the principles of the UN Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative. The UN Global Compact principles apply to human rights, workers’ rights, anti-corruption measures and environmental issues. The ESG ratings of the funds and any breaches of the norms are always processed in Evli’s Responsible Investment Steering Group that consists of the Wealth Management unit’s executives. In case of a violation of UN Global Compact norms, the steering group has three options:
- Monitor the situation
- Start engagement
- Sell of the holding.
Active ownership and engagement are an essential part of Evli’s principles of responsible investment practices. Evli seeks to act in ways that promote responsible business. The third procedure consists of participating in the General Meetings of the investment targets and discussing with the companies to promote responsible business practices.
In 2017, Evli engaged with nine companies. The engagement cases concerned, for example, environmental problems, respect of the rights of indigenous peoples, suspected violation of human rights, reporting of responsibility factors and matters related to corporate governance. In addition to individual engagement cases, Evli participated in CDP ’s*** investor letters. The investment letters are a tool for investors to encourage companies that create an unusually high risk of climate change to report on their operations and associated climate risks.
Evli’s portfolio managers use an ESG database that is based on data from the MSCI ESG Research service****, which helps them to analyze responsibility factors in a systematic manner. The use of the ESG database was extended in 2017 by deploying a new collection of databases associated with climate change. Evli was also the first asset manager in Finland that started to publicly report the ESG rating of its funds, which represented a significant leap forward in transparency and openness. Thanks to the reporting, anyone can evaluate the responsibility of Evli’s funds. In addition, Evli published its first report on responsible investing in 2017.
Climate change has become an increasingly important theme in responsible investing, which is why two of Evli’s factor funds were converted to low-carbon funds in 2017. The low-carbon funds exclude major coal mining companies and companies that produce the highest amount of greenhouse emissions, which is why Evli’s factor funds have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than the market-weighted index. In December 2017, Evli signed the Climate Action 100+ initiative, in which investors act together to influence the top 100 greenhouse gas emitting companies to mitigate climate change.
*ESG refers to Environmental, Social and Governance factors.
**The ESG rating scale from best to worst is AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, B and CCC.
***CDP is an independent organization whose aim is to encourage companies to report on and manage their impact on the environment. Evli Bank has been an investment member of CDP since 2007.
****MSCI ESG Research is an external service provider that assesses companies based on their responsibility factors.