The AXA Group has committed its member insurance companies to considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria by signing up to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative.
Sylvain Vanston, ESG integration manager at AXA, told Blue & Green Tomorrow that a belief that sustainable investment can provide more reliable long-term returns was a driving factor behind the decision.
He said, “Our general approach is that responsible investment, or integrating environmental, social and governance factors in investment processes, can create value when undertaken adequately.”
“For our asset managers AXA Investment Management and AllianceBernstein, it means that we are pushing them to measure the “ESG footprint” or scores of the general account assets they manage.
“For instance, AXA IM seeks to ensure that all products in which AXA is invested, including fixed income, equities, real estate, structured products, integrate ESG considerations.”
Vanston added that it will take at least 18 month for these changes to be put into effect.
AXA’s investment management arm joins the 1,207 signatories of the PRI – an aspirational body that seeks to encourage greater responsible investment.
In September, a spokesperson of the University of Edinburgh cited its commitment to the PRI as an influential factor in its decision to pull the plug on its investment in a US drone component maker.
They said, “We are committed to socially responsible investment and are the first university in Europe to sign up to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment. Having taken on board concerns raised by EUSA [Edinburgh University Students’ Association], we have taken the decision to disinvest in Ultra Electronics.”
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