Storebrand: Sustainability is a numbers game

In January 2016  the Storebrand achieved 24th place in the 2016 Global 100 (G100) Most Sustainable Corporations Index.

Announced in January 2016 at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, by research firm Corporate Knights, the annual G100 Index considers a broad range of sustainable business factors including how organisations balance environmental, social, and governance performance while delivering superior returns to investors.

Impressively,  the Storebrand Group –  Norway’s largest proviate asset manager and a leading player in the Nordic market for long-term savings and insurance – achieved 24th place in the global index from 4,609 companies assessed.

Canstar caught up with Harald Martens Holm, Storebrand spokesperson, for a Q&A on the initiatives that saw the Storebrand success.

Q: Your G100 ranking this year is a huge achievement; 24th of 4,609 companies assessed. What are the sustainability initiatives over the past 12 months that Storebrand is proudest of?

Thank you, this achievement is really important for us, and is a strong sign that we are on the right track. As Norway’s largest private asset manager, with over $62 billion in asset under management, sustainability in our investments plays a huge role in our sustainability work.

2015 has been a big year for us, and I want to highlight three achievements in 2015:

  • We made a strategic decision to put sustainability as the overall “purpose” of the organization. Storebrand will make “solving future challenges” as the core of our business. This takes our commitment to the next level, and gives us even more speed coming into 2016. How we manage our investments is a serious contribution in this aspect.
  • In the beginning of 2015, we made a new index fund, optimizing for sustainability, and moved nearly 2 billion dollars into this fund. this was something all our customers benefitted from, including our pension portfolios.
  • We also signed Montreal Pledge and Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, committing to both publish and reduce our CO2 footprint. During fall 2015, we reduced carbon in our portfolios equal to the emissions of 44.000 Swedish households.

Q: Why is sustainability so important?

Sustainability and the climate issue is one of the most important strategic issues facing the world today, and has a direct impact both on investments and any company’s future success. Therefore it is in the interest of both institutional and individual investors that e.g. climate impacts, social aspects, and governance are measured and managed in the business world .

Q: Can you share any sustainability goals that you are looking to implement over the next few years?

In short term, our focus will be on increasing sustainability in our investments. This is done by using our sustainability analysis, and investing more in the more sustainable companies, and less in the less sustainable ones. In the longer term, e.g. CO2 will be a strategic priority for us.

The purpose will also be a high strategic priority, focusing on sustainability in every aspect of the business products and culture.

Q: Does the size of your organization make it easier or more challenging to achieve sustainability goals?

It definitely makes it easier. As a large organization, we have more purchasing power and more power as an investor. This makes engagement and influence easier. This also means that we have more business opportunities regarding our own products. This is definitely a numbers game – the more, the better.

Q: How important is it to have staff engagement and commitment to your goals, and how do your achieve this?

This is extremely important! Our top management plays a crucial role in this, and they are fully behind the sustainability strategy. The strategy is implemented in the existing business units as an integrated strategy, not by a specific sustainability team. I think the crucial aspect of achieving engagement and commitment is to make sustainability fit into the core strategy, and to integrate this in the organization.

Canstar is an information provider and in giving you information about any organisation, Canstar is not making any suggestion or recommendation about a particular organisation.

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