Varma publishes UN-based responsible investment report
Varma has published a responsible investment report for 2013 according to the UN supported Principles of Responsible Investment. The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is an international network of investors whose objective is to incorporate environmental, social and governance issues into investment decision-making processes and ownership practices.
Varma’s first PRI Report looks at how responsibility is organised within the company’s Investment Oper-ations, how responsible investment aspects are taken into account in investment processes and in vari-ous asset classes, how responsibility issues are taken into account in ownership practices and how Varma encourages to report on the subject.
“A public report brings a new kind of transparency to Varma’s investments and highlights the importance of responsibility in investment operations. The report also provides Varma with a good internal tool for monitoring our progress on an annual level,” says Pirta Wentzel, Varma’s Specialist, Responsible In-vesting.
Transparent and comprehensive report
According to Wentzel, Varma’s report is quite exhaustive.
“We wanted to present the information in a comprehensive and transparent manner, taking into account each asset class. All of our answers are also made public,” she says.
Earlier in the winter, Varma published its Principles for Responsible Investment and specific practices for different asset classes. They cover Varma’s investment assets in their entirety.
Challenges lie in defining key criteria and availability of data
Varma’s objective is to identify and focus on the key responsibility factors of investments.
“Defining the factors is often challenging, especially when considering the matter from an investor per-spective. In addition, the availability of consistent data is generally a considerable challenge,” Wentzel points out.
She stresses that for a long-term pension investor, responsibility issues are fundamental.
“The longer the investment horizon, the more important it is to examine how, for example, employees or the environment are treated by the investee companies,” explains Wentzel. “Such factors could have just as great an impact on investment returns as the income statement. Added value is created when the investor knows the companies and, in certain cases, can influence their operations.”
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