Taking Stock and Growing Trees
On a visit to Nordea’s Sustainable Finance Conference in Stockholm this week, NordSIP enjoyed the contributions of Nordea Head of Sustainable Finance Sasja Beslik, Nordea CEO Casper von Koskull, Danish pension fund CEO Allan Pollack, and several others. It’s a choice, Beslik said, whether sustainability is seen as an opportunity or a threat. One speaker particularly impressed NordSIP – Mika Anttonen, Founder and Chairman of Finnish energy company St1. “Forget it! It’s not happening, and there is no reason to be optimistic,” he said of the 2º emission limit target of the Paris agreement. Instead, he is investing in projects to, among other things, grow trees in deserts.
The Stockholm Sustainable Finance Center (SSFC) appointed a new advisory board this week, with members including Swedfund’s Maria Håkansson, Swedbank Robur’s Liza Jonson, Folksam’s Jens Henriksson and other notables. Alecta CEO Magnus Billing will act as chairman of the board, which is tasked with supporting financial institutions with their transitions to Paris agreement and UN GSA objectives. The degree of sustainability according to rules and regulations in the Nordics is proving to be an attractive feature to global data center concerns, while another report by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) suggests the majority of the world’s largest pension funds are lagging in terms of providing information as to how climate change affects the value of their assets. Sweden’s AP4 topped the ranking in terms of adequate disclosure. Last but not least, last week’s UN PRI conference saw the launch of the Investor Agenda, an initiative to stimulate action among institutional investors backed by roughly 400 such investors with €27.5 trillion in AUM between them. Focus areas are investment, corporate engagement, investor disclosure, and policy advocacy.
Heard on E-Street
AXA Investment Managers restructured part of its investment team to integrate ESG factors into its strategies, making a number of new hires and creating a central group to oversee implementation of its shareholder engagement, transparency and research objectives. (Investment & Pensions Europe). The World Bank, BNP Paribas and SYZ, the Swiss private banker, renewed partnership on an equity bond offering linking investment returns to the performance of companies advancing priorities enumerated in the UN SDGs. BNP Paribas will arrange the bond, SYZ will be the sole distributor of the bond in Switzerland, and all investments will finance World Bank development projects (Greenbiz). SEB remains the only Nordic bank in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, following this year’s investor sustainability ranking (Global Newswire). Finally, think-tank Re-Define’s Sony Kapoor suggests that Sweden can only afford a left-right coalition in the wake of its deadlocked election last week, which must prioritise confronting long-term structural challenges (Re-Define).
Famous Last Words
“The idea that the environment and the economy are in conflict is false. Decarbonizing goes hand-in-hand with improved economic performance… While oceans are out of sight and mind, they are a driving force on which we depend. [Climate change is] the biggest investment opportunity in the history of the world.” – Former U.S. Vice President and Generation Investment Management co-founder Al Gore at the Principles for Responsible Investment “In Person” conference last week, where he clearly spoke to a home crowd but brought his usual wisdom (Chief Investment Officer).
Think Big. Happy weekend,
Your NordSIP team
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