Danish Pensions Focus on Tax Transparency

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Four pension funds run by Sampension – Sampension Liv, Arkitekternes Pensionskasse, Pensionskassen for Jordbrugsakademikere & Dyrlæger and ISP Pension – united to demand increased tax transparency from BMW, BP, Danish Coloplast and brewery giant AB InBev.

    Sampension is a Danish company specialising in the management of occupational pension schemes for white-collar employees. According to Jesper Nørgaard, Deputy Investment Director at Sampension, the Danish pension funds urged companies to strengthen their tax reporting by reporting on their tax payments regionally instead of as a total global amount. Nørgaard adds that increased tax transparency strengthens the understanding of the companies’ financial situation and tax practices, and can influence other companies to strengthen their own transparency.

    Enhanced dialogues via the US SDGs

    Sampension was one of the first pension companies to highlight the importance of tax arrangements for sustainability purposes in 2018 when the issue was included in Sampension’s guidelines and in its critical dialogue program. This issue is now addressed specifically via Sampension’s enhanced dialogue program, which is more active and focuses on influencing companies’ governance standards.

    Enhanced dialogues are based on the performance of portfolio companies vis-à-vis the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If a company underperforms comparable companies on this metric, Sampension will initiate an enhanced dialogue to support the company’s participation in sustainable development.

    This approach is distinguished from Sampension’s improving dialogues. “The improving dialogues do not start because we suspect that our guidelines will be violated, and unlike the enhanced dialogues, the improving dialogues do not lead directly to a decision on possible exclusion,” said Nørgaard.

    Image courtesy of Sampension

    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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