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AP3’s sustainable investments head Kusoffsky Hillesöy leaves to join insurer Länsförsäkringar

Respected RI professional to join Swedish mutual insurer and build up ESG capability.

Christina Kusoffsky Hillesöy, one of the highest profile responsible investment and corporate governance specialists in the Nordic region, and 2013 Chair of the Ethical Council of the four Swedish National Pension Funds (AP1-AP4), is to leave her full time post at the AP funds at the end of the month. Kusoffsky Hillesöy, who works as Head of Communications & Sustainable Investments at AP3 (Third Swedish National Pension Fund), is joining Länsförsäkringar, the Swedish mutual insurance group, as its Head of Responsible Investments. Länsförsäkringar Fondförvaltning, its asset management arm, is a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. The insurance company parent is not a signatory and Kusoffsky Hillesöy told RI that part of the attraction of the move was to start with a relatively “blank sheet of paper” and develop responsible investment across Länsförsäkringar’s insurance assets in various investment classes. Kusoffsky Hillesöy has been in the role at AP3 for just over nine years. Each AP fund appoints one ordinary member to the Ethical Council, with a revolving chair. The Council’s new Chair for 2014 is Arne Lööw, Head of Corporate Governance at AP4.The Council reviews the hundreds of billions of assets run by the AP funds for potential ethical problems and carries out related corporate lobbying engagements. It recommends exclusion of companies from the AP fund portfolios as a last resort if companies do not respond satisfactorily. In its most recent high-profile blacklistings, the Council advised the AP funds to divest their holdings in US retail giant Wal-Mart and mining company Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., despite engaging with both for years. The Wal-Mart exclusion stemmed from the company’s links to what the AP Ethical Council termed “systematic abuses of workers’ rights” and the denial of workers’ right to form and join trades unions.
 The Council had engaged with Wal-Mart on the issue since 2007, but it said it had been forced to conclude that “continued dialogue with Wal-Mart will be to no avail”.
The exclusion of Freeport McMoRan related to its controversial Grasberg facility in Indonesia. The Council said it had been told by the company that it reserves the right to release waste into rivers. The Swedish Ethical Council’s recommendations are often cited by other institutional investors in their own engagements or divestments. A replacement for Kusoffsky Hillesöy at AP3 has not yet been found.