Stockholm (NordSIP) – The Church of Sweden reported SEK 628 million in returns for 2016, a 9.3% increase grounded in part in its sustainable investment initiatives. This is the fifth year in a row that the Church surpasses benchmarks set by its own management.
“We are pleased, even in 2016, to deliver a performance matching our longer term objectives,” said Anders Thorendal, Chief Investment Officer with the Swedish Church.
Results over a ten-year period are the Church’s defining criteria, where the Church Council has set a 3% per annum yield requirement over a ten-year period, taking inflation into account. The Church’s AUM has increased by 68% nominally over the past 10 year period, representing nominal yearly returns of 5.3%, or 4.2% in real terms per annum on average, according to Mr Thorendal.
The Church of Sweden reserves much of its SEK 7.39 billion (as of December 31, 2016) in total AUM for responsible investments. It specifically employs managers that integrate issues relating to the environment, human rights and corporate governance into their investment processes. The Church’s portfolios seek to include companies devoted to sustainability and which, as a rule of thumb, do not invest in industries such as oil, coal, gas, weapons and tobacco. The Swedish Church also tries to influence, in coordination with its portfolio managers, companies in its portfolio that exhibit deficiencies in commitments to sustainability.
The Church of Sweden was among the first institutions globally to call for sustainable investment.
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