As financial professionals, banks have enormous potential to influence and promote sustainability. Similarly, the investor can take sustainability into account in their own investment choices.
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel brings together the consumer and the service or product provider; it speaks objectively of sustainability.
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is a well-known, independent label that makes it easy for a consumer to make sustainable choices. By taking sustainability into account in their investment choices, one can influence future solutions. The companies that are invested in through the Swan Ecolabelled fund are expected to follow sustainability principles, which will steer their business in a more sustainable and profitable direction.
Handelsbanken Finland has six funds and two funds quoted on the stock exchange that have been awarded the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Each Handelsbanken fund takes into account the sustainability requirements but obtaining the Swan Ecolabel requires meeting even stricter criteria as regards reporting, for example. We have determinedly reduced the carbon footprint of our funds and paid even more attention to sustainability realized in the companies in which we invest.
In autumn 2017, as a result of the long-term work, we were granted the first Nordic Swan Ecolabel for our Sustainable Energy fund.
Being granted the Nordic Swan Ecolabel requires that the fund meets strict criteria. This is how sustainability is realized in practice:
- Exclusion. The fund must exclude sectors at high risk of negative impact on the environment, such as fossil fuels. Neither do we invest in tobacco and arms industry.
- Inclusion. At least 90% of the fund’s direct investments have been subject to a sustainability analysis.
- Influencing. We use dialogues with companies and voting power to steer the companies’ operations in a more sustainable direction.
- Reporting. The sustainability work actions are reported every year. The holdings of the Swan Ecolabelled Fund must be published at least four times a year.
- Quality assurance. The requirements of the Swan Ecolabel must be met annually.
Responsible investment at Handelsbanken (in Finnish)
Sustainability at Handelsbanken (in Finnish)
Handelsbanken’s Swan Ecolabel awarded funds:
This Planet act illustrates how the financial sector can expedite the transition towards lower environmental impact practices in different business sectors. The use of transparent third party requirements improve customer understanding of the principles applied in the investment decisions. This act is scalable in the financial sector.