IRRI Survey – Nordic Sneak Peek

    Stockholm (NordSIP) –SRI-Connect, the online research network for sustainable investment and corporate governance, published its Independent Research in Responsible Investment (IRRI) 2019 survey results this week. We are still waiting for the detailed Nordic cut, but the results suggest Nordic professional contributions to SRI are dominated by asset owners.

    The survey is conducted by SRI-Connect’s Research Editor Mike Tyrrell in partnership with survey specialist Extel, asked carefully targeted questions to a broad cross-section of SRI, corporate governance and investment professionals and IR and CSR managers from listed companies. 954 verified respondents from 44 countries contributed to the creation of 20 rankings. All the results are available for members on SRI-Connect.

    Given the prevalence of sustainable investing practice in the region, we were curious to see how the Nordic investment industry performed in these rankings. We would like to congratulate the winners in the Nordics that made it into the top-10 of several lists.

    Four Nordic asset owners were among the asset owners that survey respondents consider as the top ten contributors to SRI, including the Government Pension Fund Global from Norway, AP2, AP7 and AP1 from Sweden. The top contributing asset manager was CalPERS, followed by the Church of England and the Government Pension Investment Fund Japan.

    “We asked expert industry bodies and consultants which institutional investors they saw as developing most interest in sustainable investment. Institutional pension funds and insurance funds are tipped to develop most while family offices and retail investors are expected to show slow growth,” says Tyrrell.

    In the asset managers who contribute to SRI, the only Nordic participant highlighted was Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which came in eighth position – down from fifth last year. Storebrand Asset Management made it to number 19, while Nordea Asset Management ranked at 49.

    Among the top 10 analysts that best understand companies, Shane Chaplin from Swedbank Robur and Annareetta Lumme-Timonen from Finnish Solidium the only references from Nordic asset managers, tied at number seven. Shortly after Chaplin, Annie Bersagel from Folketrygdfondet – and the Nordic star of last year’s survey ranks at number 11, tied with Katarina Hammar and Michaela Zhirova of Nordea Asset Management.

    The sole Nordic company among the top 10 best company communicators of 2018 was Danish energy giant Orsted made that cut at number 7. Further down the rankings we see Novo Nordisk (14), Stora Enso (17), and H&M, down twenty places from last year and tied with TeliaSonera (29).

    Of the companies that IRRI survey respondents most wish to contact, aside from the trendy tech giants, we note the presence of Vale, which is consistent with the recent efforts of the Church of England and the Swedish AP funds to engage with the Brazilian mining giant following the Brumadinho disaster earlier this year. Otherwise, the only Nordic focuses are on Swedbank AB (19), ABB (23) and Fortum (23).

    According to the survey, not a single Nordic company made it to the top 10 best sell-side research firms for SRI. “There is still a disappointing lack of clarity among asset managers about how to access and use effectively the services of brokers. This is a missed opportunity for SRI,” noted Tyrrel.

    Following the recent acquisition of Sweden’s GES International AB in the beginning of 2019 by Sustainalytics, that research provider is no longer considered separately among the top SRI research providers by the IRRI survey. However, the consolidation provided by the merger ensured Sustainalytics was second only to MSCI as overall SRI research provider and as a provider of impact measurement. It also ranked at number seven as a provider of climate change research. It was also among the top three best providers of engagement services support, after the UN PRI and ahead of Hermes Equity Ownership Services.

    Finally, in the list of those individuals who made the most positive overall contribution to sustainable investment/corporate governance during 2018, we note the presence of Nadine Viel Lamare (36) of the TPI, and previously at AP2, and of Sasja Beslik of Nordea Wealth Management (43).

    This video summarizes the findings and briefly presents the journey SRI-Connect and Extel have travelled since the first edition of the survey in 2012.


    Image © OlegDoroshin – Shutterstock

    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe is an economist with 8 years of experience in macroeconomic and financial analysis for the Economist Intelligence Unit, the UN World Institute for Development Economic Research, the Stockholm School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Filipe holds a MSc in European Political Economy from the LSE and a MSc in Economics from the University of London, where he currently is a PhD candidate.

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