Stockholm (NordSIP) – Svanen, or the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, will hold a ‘Fund Value Day’ today (Wednesday February 21st) to encourage Swedes to choose sustainable funds and invest sustainably.
“We want to inspire more consumers to invest in Swan-labelled funds because it affects businesses and, in the long run, pushes the world in a more sustainable direction,” Ragnar Unge, CEO of Svanen, told etc.se’s Maria Holm. “People pay enough attention to Valentine’s Day or Earth Day. We home consumers will feel that it is as important to choose the right funds on Fund Value Day. The most common reason people do not invest sustainably is that they do not have the time to find out which funds are truly sustainable.”
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is the official sustainability ecolabel for the Nordic countries, introduced by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1989. The label now covers 68 different product groups, from furniture to hotels and now including investment funds, where products must verify compliance with ecolabelling criteria such as environmental, quality and health standards. The label is usually valid for three years, after which criteria are revised and a company must reapply for a license.
Svanen will therefore promote funds that it has bestowed its ecolabel upon on Fund Value Day. “We see there is a lot of interest, but consumers demand independent control that funds truly meet sustainability criteria,” Unge said. “We measured the level of interest in September 2017, before Svanen-labeled funds were made available on the market, and even then one in four respondents said they were interested.”
The first Svanen-labeled investment funds were presented in Stockholm in October. 12 investment funds worth a combined SEK30bn, including funds managed by SEB, Alfred Berg, Handelsbanken, Skandia and Swedbank were anointed with the label. Nordic Ecolabelling launched its criteria for investment funds only four months prior. Professional investors in Sweden, Norway and Finland can now look for the Svanen ecolabel when evaluating investment products.
“Funds with the Svanen label are prohibited from investing in companies that extract coal, oil, gas or uranium, companies that violate human rights, commit environmental crimes or produce weapons and tobacco. They also may not contain government bonds from countries that have not signed the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, the Paris Agreement or which are deemed to be corrupt. This means 90 per cent of the funds available in the market are automatically ruled out,” Unge said.
Nordic Ecolabelled investment funds are required to meet 25 mandatory standards governing the various ways a fund can affect companies, including among other things the right to waiver, company choice and transparency concerning fund investments.
The following funds have been awarded the Svanen ecolabel: Alfred Berg Hållbar Tillväxt Sverige, CB Save Earth Fund, Handelsbanken Hållbar Energi, SEB Hållbarhetsfond Sverige, Skandia Cancerfonden, Skandia Världsnaturfonden, Swedbank Robur Ethica Global, Swedbank Robur Ethica Global MEGA, Swedbank Robur Ethica Sverige, Swedbank Robur Ethica Sverige MEGA, Swedbank Robur Humanfond, and Tundra Sustainable Frontier Fund.
The actively managed Didner&Gerge Global fund received the Nordic Ecolabel and a license certificate from Swedish Finance Minister Per Bolund, also February 21st. With SEK 7 billion in AUM, the fund invests in companies with long-term ownership and sustainable business models.
“We always work hard with the companies we choose to invest in and we see clear return opportunities in the inclusion of sustainability in corporate analysis,” commented Helen Hillström, CEO of Didner&Gerge.
With Skandia’s ‘Skandia Hållbar’ fund also receiving the Svanen label recently, this brings the number of funds with the distinction to 14, accounting for SEK 41 billion in total.
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