Varma among top companies in global sustainability assessment

EcoVadis, an international corporate sustainability assessment specialist, has awarded Varma the Platinum EcoVadis Medal. Varma’s sustainability practices were rated as excellent, and it ranked in the top one per cent of the 75,000 companies analysed. Varma’s sustainability efforts focus especially on mitigating climate change in investments and promoting equality in working life.

EcoVadis assesses companies on their sustainability performance from the perspectives of the environment, labour & human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. Companies use the assessments to compare the subcontractors in their supply chain.

The independent assessment report was completed at the turn of the year. Varma’s previous EcoVadis result is from 2018, and since that assessment, Varma’s points increased from 63 to 73 out of 100.

“We have been purposefully developing our sustainability over the past five years. Sustainability is an integral part of Varma’s strategy, and our goal is to be a leader in sustainability. We have already partly claimed that title, particularly in sustainable and climate-friendly investment,” says Varma’s CEO Risto Murto.

According to EcoVadis’s assessment, Varma has comprehensive policies and practices in place in various sustainability areas, leading to good results. Our environmental sustainability work in particular received high scores, and our sustainability reporting was also commended.

Some areas are still in need of development, especially managing the sustainability of the supply chain. Varma also lost some points for not having an anonymous whistleblowing channel by October. The channel was opened in December, after the assessment had already ended.

Sustainability work demands a bold stance

Varma has focussed a lot of attention in recent years on climate change mitigation, renewing the work culture, promoting equality in working life and ensuring business ethics.

“Work has been carried out continuously on both our operating policies and concrete actions. Sustainability is a moving target, so holding on to an excellent performance takes hard work and a bold stance. At the same time, the sustainability expectations of our customers and other stakeholders are growing all the time,” says Communications and Sustainability Manager Katariina Sillander.

Emissions have plummeted in various asset classes and in Varma’s own operations. Varma’s personnel surveys indicate that the employees are very satisfied with the work culture and with Varma’s efforts to promote equality and non-discrimination.

“This year, we are renewing our sustainability programme and focusing on, among other things, analysing human rights and taking biodiversity into account. Varma also organises a sustainability themed webinar series, in which our customers share their tried and true practices for developing sustainability,” says Sillander.

Established in 2007, EcoVadis assesses and rates companies’ sustainability. Its assessment methodology is based on international corporate sustainability standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the UN Global Compact and the ISO 26000 standard. The 2020 assessment included 75,000 companies from around the world.

Further information:

Katri Viippola, Senior Vice-President, Communications, HR and CSR, tel. +358 400 129 500
Katariina Sillander, Communications and Sustainability Manager, tel. +358 40 709 9836

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You can read about Varma’s sustainability practices on our website and in our Annual and Sustainability Report.

Examples of Varma’s sustainability

  • In investments, climate change has been mitigated by reducing emissions in various asset classes and making buildings carbon neutral, for instance, by switching to geothermal heat and/or emission-free electricity and heat.
  • Varma is committed to eliminating thermal coal from its direct investments by 2025 and oil exploration by 2030.
  • The district heat and electricity used at Varma’s head office are emission-free, and the building has a solar power system on its roof. The parking facility has charging stations for 240 hybrid and electric cars.
  • All Varma employees are taught business ethics in a special online course. The completion rate is monitored.
  • All of Varma’s sustainability policies can be found on our website. We publish all our holdings in connection with our financial statements.
  • Varma’s contractual partners commit to Varma’s CSR requirements.
  • As a partner of Helsinki Pride, Varma has highlighted the importance of equality in working life. Varma employees have been trained to recognise biased attitudes.
  • Varma favours gender-neutral language.
  • Varma was voted the best summer job employer of 2020 in the large companies category.
  • The work ability of Varma employees, as well as equality and non-discrimination, are continuously taken into account. The aim is to achieve, among other things, an equal gender distribution in senior and middle management.

Varma has even received international recognition for its climate work and reporting

In an international assessment, the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) included Varma in the PRI Leaders’ Group for the second time for its responsible investment work. In its assessment, which was conducted for the second time, the PRI compared investors’ climate reporting performance.

We came in fifth place in the Asset Owners Disclosure Project’s (AODP) most recent comparison, carried out in autumn 2018, which assessed the world’s 100 largest global pension funds’ approach to climate-related risks and opportunities. AODP is an international, independent organisation that assesses the world’s largest institutional investors by their capacity to respond to climate-related risks and opportunities.

In 2020, Varma was recognised for its work to combat climate change by the Activist Grannies, a movement that rewards deeds that demonstrate a dedication to taking climate change seriously.

We also received recognition for our first TCFD report, which identifies climate-related risks and opportunities, when Varma was ranked number one in the Climate Change category of the sustainability reporting competition in 2019.