Sustainability has always been a fundamental principle of Swiss Life Asset Managers. Its extensive ESG expertise network ensures that sustainable aspects relating to the environment, society and governance are integrated into all business and investment processes. An important focus area is on promoting a low-carbon economy.

Forward-looking and sustainable investing

Swiss Life Asset Managers’ comprehensive sustainability approach strengthens existing investments and opens up new investment opportunities.
For over a century, Swiss Life Asset Managers has demonstrated that responsible and long-term investing is one of its fundamental principles. For example, the "Falkenburg" investment property acquired in 1893 was advertised as "healthy, bright, charming and cosy" – which roughly corresponds to today's sustainability criteria.

A holistic approach to sustainability 

  • At Swiss Life Asset Managers, sustainability has three pillars:
  • the fiduciary obligation to investors, shareholders and clients
  • intergenerational responsibility, for example in relation to climate change and resource scarcity active participation in shaping the environment and society as an asset owner 

These environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria have therefore been integrated into the entire investment process. In addition, they are applied in supporting areas such as communication, human resources and economic research. This not only makes existing business more sustainable and stronger, it also opens up entirely new business opportunities.

Sustainability topics are holistically developed, managed and strategically implemented for bonds, equities, real estate and infrastructure investments, as well as for all core processes. This is ensured by solid governance and the Group-wide ESG competence network of Swiss Life Asset Managers.

This competence network consists of the:

  • ESG Board
  •  ESG Ambassadors
  • divisional ESG experts

The 50 trained ESG ambassadors from various locations and business areas facilitate knowledge transfer within their teams. They also manage ESG projects and ensure ESG criteria are embedded in business processes. How ESG prepares existing business for the future ESG criteria are broadly integrated in the investment process at Swiss Life Asset Managers: they apply across most asset classes including analysis, portfolio management, risk management and reporting. Overall, ESG integration covers about 90% of assets under management.

Anlagemoeglichkeiten

The basic assumption of Swiss Life Asset Managers is that active engagement brings more success than a simple exclusion procedure. The quality of a portfolio benefits from targeted development strategies, particularly with long-term investments such as infrastructure and real estate. For this reason, Swiss Life Asset Managers is also active in its role as shareholder, supporting proposals for more transparency on climate risks. Moreover, it shows tenants in Swiss Life properties how to use energy and water in an environmentally friendly manner.

Strategic ESG investing in new business opportunities
Sustainability also provides an important basis for future investments and market developments. Swiss Life Asset Managers therefore focuses on technologies that facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. These include:

  • renewable energies
  • clean environmental technologies
  • mobility
  • logistics

In this connection, Swiss Life Asset Managers has acquired Fontavis, an investment manager specialising in clean energy and infrastructure. As a result, the insurance portfolio will have CHF 2 billion invested in green bonds by 2023. In addition, special ESG products are being developed for third-party clients and certified for the relevant local markets, such as in France with the "ISR label."

The essence of the sustainability approach is to generate long-term and risk-aware sustainable values for insurance customers and third-party investors – both with existing and future investments. At the same time, however, Swiss Life Asset Managers is living up to its responsibility to the environment and society, and contributing to a sustainable, self-determined future for all generations.

First published in investrends.ch. 
Author: Dominik Pfoster, Head of Responsible Investment, Swiss Life Asset Managers

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