Fam Evaldsson, who recently joined Storebrand Asset Management as Director for Distribution, sounds very enthusiastic about her new position. “Getting the opportunity to work for Storebrand, a pioneer within sustainability, feels like a great match,” she says in an exclusive interview for NordSIP. Evaldsson tells us that it was partly her recent studies in Strategic Sustainable Development that triggered the move. While learning how companies and organisations can and should contribute to a sustainable society in a financially advantageous manner, she found the inspiration to dive into the area in earnest.
“In order to run a sustainable business, it is essential to integrate sustainability into the core business strategies and operations,” explains Evaldsson. “By setting goals that are guided by basic sustainability principles as boundary conditions for what will work in a sustainable future, followed by strategic actions leading towards these goals, the organisation can develop step by step and transition to a fully sustainable, future-proof business,” she adds.
Evaldsson joins Storebrand AM from Nasdaq European Markets, where she was the firm’s Marketing Director. Previously she was the Head of Communications and Marketing at Euroclear Sweden, and prior to that her career was focused on client relations and sales. After working within communication and marketing for the last ten years, she was eager to continue her journey and develop further. “The combination of client relations, business development and sustainable investments in the new role felt like an exciting next step,” she says.
At Storebrand, possible sustainability issues are addressed proactively through a continuous dialogue with the investee companies and rigorous portfolio monitoring. “Storebrand Asset Management’s investment philosophy builds on a firm belief that returns and sustainability go hand in hand,” asserts Evaldsson. “It is through active advocacy for sustainability and engagement in partnerships with other strategic international investor alliances that we can achieve substantial change,” she adds.
Evaldsson considers the multi-boutique structure of Storebrand’s offering a huge advantage in providing optimal solutions to the clients. However distinct when it comes to their product ranges and investment styles, the fund boutiques under Storebrand’s umbrella, like Delphi Fonder, SKAGEN, SPP Fonder and Cubera, all follow strict sustainability criteria. Some might choose to go further than others, however. Evaldsson cites SPP Fonder as an example. “In 2015, SPP launched its first fossil-free funds, and since 2019 all companies are fossil-free across the entire SPP funds offering. The exclusion criteria cover holdings concerning both the production and distribution of fossil fuels, which is not always the case when discussing fossil exclusion. I believe this gives a competitive edge that many investors find important,” she adds.
The demand for sustainable investment products is growing rapidly and will most certainly continue to do so, considering the much-needed transformation to sustainable economies and societies. “I think we will see more and more thematic funds going forward, focusing on investing exclusively in solution companies that address systemic sustainability issues and contribute to sustainable development,” says Evaldsson. As an example, she points out Storebrand’s new fund, ‘Smart Cities’, just launched in Sweden, which invests in companies that contribute to the UN’s sustainability goals by solving social and environmental challenges related to urbanisation.
Evaldsson finds the rapid growth of sustainable investing and the appetite for sustainable products very encouraging. “Nevertheless, we have some fundamental changes ahead of us,” she says. “The transition requires mobilisation of finance from both the public sector as well as institutional and private capital. By investing in sectors where development is urgently needed, such as energy and transport systems, waste management and sustainable food systems, the finance sector can make an impact and contribute to the transition towards sustainability for our society as a whole and at the same time generate returns to investors. That, in combination with global policies and regulations underpinning the sustainable transition, will be critical components enabling a bright, prosperous world for future generations,” Evaldsson concludes.
Photo courtesy of Fam Evaldsson