ESG investment and stewardship

At Aberdeen Standard Investments, stewardship is a fundamental element of our investment approach.  We believe that the assessment of environmental social and governance (ESG) factors adds value to investment performance by mitigating risk and identifying opportunities. In addition to the integration of material ESG factors, we also offer clients bespoke ESG and screened solutions to meet their investment needs.

ESG across our asset classes

We integrate ESG across all our asset classes – equities, fixed income, real estate, quantitative investments, alternatives and multi-asset. Here are some examples:

Equities
 

We disclose our votes at shareholder meetings online along with a summary of our engagements. Our Governance and Stewardship principles and policy guidelines provide a framework for investment analysis, engagement and proxy voting for companies we invest in worldwide

In 2017 we launched our Global Equity Impact Fund which uses the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to invest in companies which have a positive impact on the environment and society, whilst aiming for strong financial returns.

Fixed Income
 

ESG issues are increasingly being identified as factors which could have a impact on the credit risk of the underlying investment. Our low carbon portfolio aims to meet the needs of clients who wish to capitalise on the trend towards a low carbon world.

Real Estate
 

This year, 21 of our real estate funds received Green Stars from the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) placing us in the top 20% of our peers.  In addition, 20 Standard Life Investments funds were assessed against GRESB's voluntary Health & Wellbeing Module, with improvements on last year's scores.

Industry involvement

We play an active part in policy debates and discussions, seeking to raise standards across markets because we believe that this will add value effectively for customers and clients. We seek to improve market efficiency and transparency through enhancing standards for company reporting and securities regulations, as well as improving the regulation of company law, governance and stewardship matters.

We're a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

The PRI encourages investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage risks, but does not operate for its own profit. It engages with global policymakers and is not associated with any government. It is supported by, but not part of, the United Nations.

We’re on the Investor Advisory Group of SASB

SASB develops and maintains inclusive sustainability accounting standards that help companies disclose financially material information to investors in a cost-effective and transparent format.

We’re driving transparency of workforce data

We are part of a coalition of 79 asset managers who have signed the new Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) asking the world’s largest companies for data on their labour practices including staff on permanent contracts and minimum wages in order to identify workforces that are vulnerable to financial risk.

We’re focused on climate change

We support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures' (TCFD) recommendations to integrate climate considerations throughout the investment process. We believe they’ll help to improve the clarity, quality and usefulness of companies’ climate change disclosures as the transition to a lower carbon economy may cause significant disruption to business. Having a greater awareness of the financial implications of climate change risk will help us preserve the value of our investments and deliver better performance for our clients. Our aim is to follow the recommendations to demonstrate how climate change risk informs our own approach to strategy, governance and risk management.

We’re helping investors to monitor climate impact

Together with 13 asset owners and five asset managers we are supporting the new Transitional Pathway Initiative (TPI). TPI is an online data–analysis tool which enables investors to assess how effectively companies are addressing climate related risks.

We sponsor Good Money Week in the UK

Our sponsorship of Good Money Week provided a platform for raising awareness of our new offering and our broader stewardship capabilities, together with engaging with stakeholders on these issues.

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