Sustainability paves the way for a better future

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Handelsbanken has today published its Sustainability and Corporate Governance Report for 2020.
The report introduces new sustainability goals, which steer both our investments and how we try to influence others through engagement.
“We place high demands on our companies – and our investors expect us to place even higher demands on ourselves,” says Karin Askelöf, Head of Sustainability at Handelsbanken Fonder.

Handelsbanken Fonder is convinced that investment in sustainable business models is a prerequisite for generating financial value for our customers.  
Only through sustainable investment can we create a richer future. The winners will be those companies that can deliver solutions for the shift to a more sustainable future,” says Karin Askelöf.

In 2020, Handelsbanken Fonder established a number of sustainability goals that impose stringent requirements on choosing the companies its mutual funds invest in, and on the fund management company itself. 

  •  Net zero greenhouse gas emissions from the investment portfolios by no later than 2040. A sub-target here is that carbon dioxide emission intensity is to be halved by 2030, and investments in climate-related solutions doubled.

  • Step up our contribution to Agenda 2030. By 2025 achieve a 30 per cent increase in sustainable investments by  2025, and increase Handelsbanken Fonder’s engagement activities with positive results. 

We have a long-term investment horizon, and therefore avoid investments in sectors with business models that are unsustainable over time, and which risk obstructing the goals of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. We would rather direct the capital we have been trusted to manage towards companies that have solutions for the world’s sustainability challenges,” says Magdalena Wahlqvist Alveskog, Chief Executive of Handelsbanken Fonder.

Why is it important for you to set sustainability goals?
“There are four main reasons: competitiveness, good returns, responsibility and follow-up. Our vision is to deliver financial wealth and planetary health through responsible investments, but this is an empty vision without concrete targets along the way. Quantitative goals provide us with a clear direction, as well as allowing for the follow-up of our successes and defining our responsibilities,” says Magdalena Wahlqvist Alveskog.
How will these ambitious climate goals become reality?
“As we have already omitted many companies through our exclusion of fossil fuels, we will need to achieve these reductions by convincing companies, significant polluters, to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. It will require a lot of work on our part if we are to see results from our engagement work, but we will of course do what is necessary, also through collaborations with other investors,” says Karin Askelöf.
The funds’ current emission intensities are around 45-60 per cent lower than that of the global economy, with a higher exposure to the Nordic countries, a comparatively wealthy region which will need to lead the way in cutting emissions.
"Therefore, we have decided that 50 per cent is a “fair share” that we should be able to contribute."