Danish pension savers see climate change is the most important area within responsible investment, according to a study by AMWatch done in collaboration with analytics firm Wilke.
In the survey, 28 percent of respondents rank climate as most important, while "good working conditions" (22.4 percent) and "combating social inequality" (18 percent) take second and third place.
Climate is the most important parameter for all age groups except the over 70s – individuals likely to be pensioners. Interest in the climate tends to fall with age, according to the survey results, with 18 to 29-year-olds rating climate as the most important area of responsible investment.
In Sweden, meanwhile, climate is also a subject that has occupied both pension savers and cash funds for a number of years, according to Johan Florén, Head of Communications and ESG at AP7.
Pensioners' prioritization of the climate does not surprise Karsten Beltoft, Deputy Director of the Danish Pension Funds Lobby Organization, Insurance & Pension Denmark:
"We have generally become more climate-oriented in our daily lives — and so I think that climate is the first thing many think about when talking about accountability and investment. The pension sector has been actively investing in and supporting the green changeover, and I also expect the climate to be a big deal in 2018. "
Pension funds implement climate initiatives
In 2017, both Sampension and Industriens Pension implemented initiatives focusing more on the climate in their investment strategies. At Sampension, everything the company invests in is investigated in order that it meets the standards of the climate agreement COP 21 in Paris, explains Søren Espersen, Communications and HR Director.
The purpose of the climate agreement is to keep the planet's temperature rise below two degrees celsius compared with 1850.
At Danish labor market pension fund Industriens Pension, which has about DKK 162 billion (EUR 22 billion) under management, all stock portfolios are screened to evaluate how much CO2 the companies emit compared to firms in the portfolio benchmark, Peter Lindegaard, Head of Listed Investments explains:
"And our portfolios emit 20-25 percent less than if they had been passive investments. We can see that our active managers often tend to invest more in companies with a green profile compared to a passive mandate, because they choose equities that have a future-oriented profile. "
Industriens Pension has not set specific targets for the difference between emissions from companies in its own equity portfolios compared to the benchmark.
The trend is the same for the industry's other players. According to a 2017 report by Dansif, a network forum of 38 professional investors, including pension funds, 41 percent measured the climate impact of their investments, up from 13 percent in 2015.
English Edit: Marie Honoré