Storebrand's environmental and social investment criteria
As the largest life insurance company and pension fund manager in Norway, Storebrand Livsforsikring AS (life insurance) recognises its responsibility to contribute to sustainable development. In March 2001 Storebrand introduced environmental and social criteria for the management of its life insurance customers' investments. These criteria apply to the investment of policyholders' funds in the stock market.
Corporate Social Responsibility is becoming an ever more important concept. Storebrand has established a 10-point action plan for Corporate Social Responsibility, and the introduction of Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) is one of its 10 priority targets.
The use of SRI criteria for investment is rapidly moving up the agenda both in Norway and internationally. In the USA, for example, one out of every eight dollars managed for investors is invested on the basis of SRI criteria. Storebrand is the first company in Norway to introduce this approach, and we know from market research that this is of interest to our customers and that they welcome the use of ethical criteria for the investment of their pension assets.
The savings and pension assets of Storebrand's life-insurance customers are managed by Storebrand Kapitalforvaltning (asset management). The total value of these assets varies with market conditions, but represents around NOK 111 billion. SRI criteria will initially be used for investing the share portfolio, which amounts to around NOK 30 billion.
Storebrand first introduced environmental investment criteria with its Storebrand Principle Global Fund in 1996, and the performance of this fund demonstrates that this approach helps to produce a competitive long-term investment return.
Equally good - or better - investment return The biggest challenge when using environmental and social investment criteria is gaining access to the information needed to evaluate individual companies. We will start by using criteria that we and our customers believe are important and which can be properly monitored. Storebrand Livsforsikring aims to be even more focused in its choice of criteria in the long-term, and we will gradually address a broader range of issues.
Storebrand’s use of environmental social criteria does not cause any increase in the charges to customers for investment management. These criteria are applied in addition to the existing financial criteria, and the target is to provide an equally good or better return on investment.
Which criteria? As far as the Tobacco Industry is concerned, the criteria mean that we will not invest in companies that produce or distribute tobacco products or in any company which generates more than 10% of its sales or income from the tobacco industry.
In respect of Landmines, we exclude any company that fails to do everything possible to prevent their products and services being used in the production, distribution or sales of landmines.
In terms of Human rights, we exclude any company associated with serious breaches of human rights such as child labour, slavery or forced labour, inappropriate use of security guards towards workers, infringement of the rights of indigenous peoples or restrictions on the freedom to organise employee representation. Decisions on exclusions in this category will be reached in collaboration with humanitarian organisations.
For our European share portfolio, we only invest in European chemical companies if their environmental and social results are among the top 30% by comparison with chemical companies around the world. We will extend this approach to companies outside Europe in due course.
For more information about Storebrand's commitment to corporate social responsibility, see our web site at www.storebrand.no/csr. Contacts: Caroline Dale Ditlev-Simonsen, Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, VP Email: email@example.com Tel: +47 22 31 19 33 Fax: +47 22 31 52 63
Sarita Bartlett, Head CSR Research, Storebrand Asset Management Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +47 22 31 10 18 Fax: +47 22 31 23 55