Six of Sweden’s biggest institutional investors: Alecta, Folksam, Sjunde AP fond (AP7), Skandia, Swedish pension insurer SPP, and The Church of Sweden have declared that they will integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the UN’s Agenda 2030 in their business, corporate governance and investment approach, and called on other investors to look at possibilities to cooperate in reaching the SDG objectives.
The declaration is part of a growing move by large financial institutions across Europe to back the SDGs.
Last week, 18 Dutch financial institutions, including pension funds, insurance firms and banks presented a report, titled Building Highways to SDG Investing to Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Frank Elderson, Executive Director of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). The report recommends priorities for maximizing ‘SDG investing’ (SDGI) – domestically and abroad under a shared SDG investment agenda. In their report the signatories offer concrete ways in which to accelerate and scale investing in the SDGs.
The Swedish investors will also be working with their respective government, via an independent agency called Sida, which works to reduce global poverty. The investors have taken the umbrella name Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development for their work to integrate the SDGs into investment.The SDGs were adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September, 2015. They are a set of 17 targets to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
In September this year, RI reported that a coalition of Dutch and Swedish pension fund managers had pledged to use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework through which to make investor decisions, citing the need to meet “mounting social and environmental challenges”.
The group, including Swedish buffer funds AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4 and Dutch asset managers PGGM and APG, committed to invest in ventures that contribute to the outcomes of the SDGs, meet existing risk and return requirements and “support the generation of positive social and/or environmental impact”.
The aim is for other institutional investors to join the initiative.
PFZW (the pension fund managed by PGGM) and ABP (the pension fund managed by APG), have set ambitious targets to invest €58bn in Sustainable Development Investments by 2020, with an additional mandate to measure the impact of €20bn of investments made into a “select set of themes”.
Correction: This article was corrected to state that Sida is an independent agency, not a government-led initiative.