Wallenbergs reveal carbon emissions in EUR 45 billion portfolio

Sweden’s Wallenberg family says its EUR 45 billion investment portfolio has slashed carbon emissions, as it bets ethical money management will ultimately lead to higher returns.

Jacob Wallenberg, the chairman of Investor AB. | Photo: Tt News Agency/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix/REUTERS / X02350

The family’s holding company, Investor AB, saw a 20 percent reduction in emissions, in absolute terms, between 2016 and 2018, according Johan Forssell, its chief executive. (2019 numbers have yet to be released).

“In the end, it’s about whether our companies are going to beat their competitors out there,” he said in an interview in Stockholm. “If they are, they need to be good in the area of sustainability.”

Investors can no longer ignore the principle of sustainability as it proves an increasingly competitive portfolio-management tool. The International Monetary Fund said in October that its staff analysis “suggests that the performance of sustainable and conventional funds is comparable.”

Expanding on the theme of sustainable competitiveness, Forssell made clear he’s uncomfortable with the current  weakness in the Swedish currency. It may boost exports temporarily, but it also risks weakening companies’ resolve to pick up their game, he said.

“During the entire 2019, the weak krona has of course helped our companies,” Forssell said. “Personally, I don’t like that much. I think it would be better to have a somewhat stronger krona, as it adds pressure to improve productivity.

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