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ESG Newsletter

Spotlight on Investors: Seattle City Employees' Retirement System

The Seattle City Employees' Retirement System ("SCERS") was established in 1929 to provide pension benefits to city of Seattle employees. With approximately 12,000 active employee members and 6,800 retired employee members (or their beneficiaries) who participate in the plan, SCERS had 2.77 billion of assets under management as at March 31, 2020.

In 2013, when SCERS adopted their ESG policy, they recognized that ESG issues have an impact on the performance of companies and that such consideration is compatible with their fiduciary duty. Consequently, SCERS adopted a Positive Action based on Shareholder Advocacy, Sustainability Investments and Integrating Climate Risk into the Investment Process. Finally, SCERS engages collaboratively with its peers through its membership to Climate Action 100+ and Ceres.

ESG Policy

ESG Quarterly Update

Spotlight on Investors: Folksam

Founded in 1908, Folksam is one of the biggest insurance and pension providers in Sweden. As at December 31, 2019, Folksam had US$ 47,5 billion of assets under management.

As part of their responsible investment strategy, Folksam has implemented a policy covering all of its assets with regards to ESG issues. As such, the firm excludes tobacco, commercial gambling, controversial weapons, oil sands and coal. Moreover, Folksam engages with portfolio companies on a regular basis over climate change, environmental issues, human rights and corruption to encourage firms to take responsibility for their activities.

Sustainability Report 2019 (Available in Swedish only)

TCFD Aligned Climate Report 2019 (Available in Swedish only)

UN PRI Transparency Report 2019

Spotlight on Investors: Fondaction

Fondaction was created in 1996 by the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (Confederation of National Labour Unions). As of May 31 2020, Fondaction had CA$ 2.26 billion of assets under management. 

Fondaction has been considering the environmental and social externalities of their investments since they started operations, as such they became signatories to the PRI in 2011. Furthermore, as part of their climate strategy, Fondaction has implemented a negative screening criteria based on the ownership of fossil fuel reserves and has succeeded in reducing by half the carbon footprint of its investments from 2015 to 2018. Finally, the organization has launched innovative thematic funds seeking to invest in companies involved in the rehabilitation of soils, climate solutions, and sustainable agriculture in emerging countries. 

Sustainability Report 2016-2018 (available in French only)

Spotlight on Investors: Storebrand

Founded in 1767, Storebrand offers pension, savings, insurance and banking products. With NOK 633 billion (US$ 70 billion) of assets under management as of December 31 2019, Storebrand is Norway's largest private asset manager.

Storebrand first appointed a Sustainable Investment team in the mid 1990s to develop the firm's approach to negative exclusions. Today, the firm implements a screening criteria to all its funds around environmental practices, corruption, human rights, coal, oil sands, controversial weapons, cannabis and unsustainable palm oil. Furthermore, Storebrand developed a scoring methodology for companies that enables them to assess both ESG risks and contribution to the SDGs in a consistent manner.

Integrated Annual Report 2019

Sustainable Investment Policy

Policy on Deforestation

Exclusion List Q1 2020

Spotlight on Investors: British Columbia Investment Management Corporation

The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation ("BCI") provides investment management services to 11 pension plans, government bodies, public trusts and sinking & government operating funds based in British Columbia, Canada. The investment manager had CA$ 153.4 billion of assets under management as at March 31, 2019.

BCI is an organization that believes that the consideration of ESG issues can improve the financial outcomes of its investments. Last week, BCI released its new ESG strategy based on four pillars:

  • Integrate – Considering ESG issues in all investment decisions.
  • Influence – Using engagements and advocacy to address issues such as Climate Change,  Water Management, Data & Privacy, Human Capital Management and Diversity & Inclusion.
  • Invest – in ESG-themed strategies.
  • Insight – Fostering an ESG culture across investment staff to stay ahead of emerging ESG trends.

Finally, BCI established with APG, AustralianSuper and PGGM the Sustainable Development Investments Asset Owner Platform (SDI AOP), an artificial-intelligence driven platform to enable investors assess companies on their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

BCI ESG Strategy

BCI ESG Annual Report – 2019

Spotlight on Investors: Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA)

The Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) was introduced to administer a pension trust fund providing defined retirement and death benefits to eligible Los Angeles County employees. As at June 30, 2019, LACER had US$ 58.2 billion of assets under management.

As an UN PRI signatory, LACERA integrates ESG factors into the investment analysis that might impact the risk/return profile of their investments. Additionally, ESG is integrated in the selection and monitoring of external assets managers as one of 5 core components. Finally, LACERA collaborates with its peers to push for better practice regarding board diversity in Californian companies, climate resilience and sustainability reporting. 

Investment Policy Statement

Corporate Governance Policy

Corporate Governance and Stewardship Update 2019

Spotlight on Investors: Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds

The Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds ("CRPTF") consists of six State Pension Funds and nine State Trust Funds. CRPTF has approximately 212,000 pension plan beneficiaries and participants which include state and municipal employees, teachers, retirees and survivorships, as well as for trust funds that support academic programs, grants, and initiatives throughout the State. As of December 31, 2018, CRPTF had $32.5 billion of assets under management. 

As a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, CRPTF only selects investment partners and money managers who carefully review the effect of ESG issues on companies. Additionally, CRPTF has implemented diversity principles to assess the diversity policies of its vendors, including asset managers. Further to that, CRTPF has launched a domestic equity brokerage program which sets targets for utilizing minority and women-owned, Connecticut-based, and emerging broker-dealers. Finally, CRPTF launched Connecticut Horizon Fund to create opportunities for minority-owned firms, woman-owned firms, Connecticut-based firms, and emerging firms with assets less than $2 billion.

Investment Policy Statement

CRPTF Diversity Principles

Spotlight on Investors: Foundation North

The Foundation North was founded following the sale of the community's share in what had been the Auckland Savings Bank. Today, this endowment enables the organization to provide grants to not-for-profit groups focusing on Increased Equity, Social Inclusion, Regenerative Environment, and Community Support in Auckland and Northland, New Zealand. As of March 20, 2019, the Foundation had NZD 1.356 billion (USD 648 million) of assets under management.

As part of Foundation's North investment approach, the organization ensures that all of its external managers consider ESG issues when investing the Foundation's assets. Furthermore, the North Foundation seeks to invest in climate change solutions, advance the efficient use of natural resources, renewable energy, clean technology and delivering societal solutions in areas such as health, education and economic wellbeing. Finally, to further its mission, the organization allocates 2% of its portfolio to impact investing.

Statement of Investment Policies and Objectives

Impact Investing Policy

Spotlight on Investors: Alecta

Established in 1917, Alecta is the largest occupational pension provider in Sweden with over 2.4 million members. As of December 31 2019, Alecta had SEK 954 billion ($103 billion) of assets under management.

As a long-term responsible investor,  Alecta considers sustainability along with financial data – including negative screening criteria on companies active in controversial weapons. Furthermore, as part of its involvement with the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, Alecta seeks to fully decarbonize its portfolios. To do so, the pension provider engages with portfolio companies on Climate risk individually and collaboratively through Climate Action 100+, and is heavily invested in green bonds (SEK 40 billion).

Annual and Sustainability Report 2019

Climate Report (only available in Swedish)

Spotlight on Investors: Oslo Pensjonsforsikring

Oslo Pensjonsforsikring was established in 2000 by the city of Oslo as a life insurance company to manage the defined benefit pension fund for employees of the Oslo city council. As at March 30 2020, Oslo Pensjonsforsikring had NK 100 billion (US$ 11 billions) of assets under management.

The organization applies the exclusion list of GPFG, the Norwegian Oil fund, based on tobacco, controversial weapons, and climate criteria. Furthermore, as part of its Climate Change strategy, Oslo Pensjonsforsikring systematically conducts scenario analysis and measures the carbon intensity of existing and new equity investments to ensure that climate risks are accurately captured. As such, the life insurance company has set carbon intensity reduction targets of 40% by 2030.

Q1 2020 Report

How Climate Risk Is Assessed (In Norwegian)