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Swedish AP funds launch procurement for ESG and ethical advice

Major responsible investors seek up to 10 suppliers

Sweden’s First, Second, Third and Fourth AP pension buffer funds (AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4) have launched a tender seeking environmental, social and governance and ethics advice.

It will cover all asset classes (equities, listed and unlisted, bonds, farmland, timber, real estate, infrastructure, commodities, hedge funds) and comprise “raw data, indicators and analysis” on ESG issues, the funds say in a 13-page request for information.

It will focus on “strategic planning, quality of policy, management systems, implementation, reporting, and verification and in what way this could influence the valuation of the company and its risks and opportunities in regards to value creation”.

The other objective of the procurement is to supply the funds’ Ethical Council with information and analysis to ensure its limited resources “are used efficiently and addresses the most important issues”.

The funds intend to sign framework agreements for a three-year period with the possibility for every fund to extend the agreement for one year.The funds stress that the signing of a framework agreement “does not guarantee any business”. They intend to sign up to 10 suppliers.

The last day for expressions of interest is August 14, with the deadline for submitting bids being September 25. Framework agreements will be awarded on October 25.

Bidders will have to notify whether they are a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The tender comes as a Swedish NGO has criticised the AP funds for not having a specific policy regarding the protection of biodiversity nor a transparent engagement process on the issue in the companies they invest in.

Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has hired EIRIS, the London-based ESG research firm, to examine the ESG performance of a number of European companies as part of the Bank’s due diligence and monitoring processes. EIRIS will look at the potential environmental, climate and social risks and opportunities related to the companies’ operations and management on an independent basis to complement the EIB project team’s own internal assessment.