Responsible investing efforts accelerated amid the pandemic - this is one of the key take-aways from the Responsible Investment Report 2020 published by Aegon Asset Management.
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a shift in priorities and put more emphasis on the importance of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues in society at large.
"2020 was an extraordinary year of change and adaption. We saw an explosion of interest within Responsible Investing," said Brunno Maradei, Global Head of Responsible Investment at AAM. "Amid the turmoil, we continued our work to capture ESG value, while hopefully contributing to a more sustainable world."
Responsible Investment Report
AAM has EUR 388 billion (USD 475 billion) of assets under management/advisement. Of this total, EUR 213 billion is in responsible investment solutions. AAM has more than 30 years of responsible investment experience and it has 14 professionals working in its global responsible investment team.
Notable developments in 2020, outlined in the Responsible Investment Report, include:
- Enhanced ESG integration across asset classes and developed proprietary ESG research methodologies, specifically within corporate and securitized fixed income research.
- Increased active ownership activity by engaging with 575 companies, up from the prior year. Voted on 2,511 meetings globally.
- Launching progressive responsible investment strategies. A global sustainable sovereign strategy and sustainability-themed strategy in equities, with additional strategies under development. These products complement an existing suite of RI capabilities with EUR 213 (USD 260) billion under management/advisement across four key categories: exclusions, best-in-class ESG, sustainability-themed and impact investing.
Aegon the Netherlands
Separately, Aegon's Dutch business has published a Responsible Business Report about the 'Corona-year' 2020. The theme of the English-language report is the ways in which Aegon the Netherlands tries to improve the lives of customers and support society on a daily basis.
"In this report, we reflect on how we responded to the changing needs of our customers and how we remained resilient as a company during the pandemic," said Willem Horstmann, Chief Risk Officer, Aegon the Netherlands.
"We also tell our responsible business story for 2020. We share insights on how we embed corporate responsibility in everything we do. From reducing our carbon footprint to being an active shareholder and working with other companies to change their behavior. We also explain where we have made progress and where there is still work to be done."