Sustainability is increasingly important, not only to us at SEB but also to our customers and society. For us it is about making better investment decisions and protecting our customers’ money. 

SEB is one of the largest institutional investors in the Nordic region with SEK 1,830 billion in assets under management for private, corporate and institutional clients. We invest in businesses that actively manage the environmental, social and governance aspects of their business as we believe they will be more successful over time and that this will add value for our customers, the companies we invest in and for society.

Our philosophy

Our investment philosophy is based on continuously influencing the market, inclusion through positive selection and exclusion based on negative screening. SEB signed the UN supported Principles for Responsible Investments (PRI) in 2008 and they serve as guidance for the fund company’s sustainability work. 

A key aspect of responsible investments is about engaging with companies in order to influence them to change. Our investment teams hold dialogues directly with Nordic companies. We are active in nomination committees and co-operate internationally with other investors. Read more about Responsible and active ownership, what we exclude, how we influence and how we collaborate here.

Reduced coal exposure

SEB excludes from all funds companies involved in thermal coal extraction, ie mining activities, where coal accounts for more than 20 per cent of the company's or group's turnover. SEB also increases the active management through dialogues with energy-related companies, where coal as an energy source exceeds 10 per cent. The decision is implemented for SEB's actively managed equity and fixed income funds.

SEB's basic criteria and ethical and sustainable funds

All SEB funds exclude companies involved in production or marketing of controversial weapons and the development or production of nuclear weapons programmes. In addition to that, our sustainable and ethical funds do not invest in companies that violate international conventions and guidelines, such as UN Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on environmental responsibility, labour rights, human rights, controversial weapons and corruption. Other sectors that are excluded are alcohol, weapons, tobacco and/or pornography. The funds also avoid companies with main revenues from commercial gambling. 

In 2017, SEB raised the level of sustainability in the basic fund offering in Sweden. About two-third of the strategy funds’ assets thereby adhere to the fund company’s most stringent sustainability criteria. 25 per cent of SEB’s own funds are now managed according to the sustainability criteria.  

SEB offers more than 15 funds with a clear sustainability profile, among them SEB Hållbarhetsfond Global (Sustainability Fund Global). In 2017, this fund reduced its carbon footprint with 75 per cent compared to benchmark. Asset under management increased substantially, from approx. 1.5 billion SEK in 2015 to 14 billion SEK at year-end 2017. SEB Hållbarhetsfond Sverige obtained the Nordic “Swan” eco label, thereby certifying that the fund meets enhanced sustainability requirements which affect the choice of shares in the fund. 

External funds in our fund offering

Funds from suppliers other than SEB, external funds, are evaluated by a special fund analyst team. We require all new external fund management companies to have signed the PRI or to follow an equivalent sustainability framework internally, and to exclude controversial weapons.

The companies we have had long-time relationships with, and that might not have signed PRI, we work actively to make them sign the principles and thereby commit to achieving certain internationally recognized standards in sustainability. At year-end 2017, 97 percent of these fund companies had signed the PRI. 

PRI signatory as asset owner

SEB Life & Pension has signed the PRI as an asset owner. Adding the asset-owner perspective gives SEB access to new collaboration forums and the possibility to pursue sustainability issues with other capital owners and make demands on external investment managers.

Microfinance funds

In 2017, SEB launched its fifth and sixth microfinance fund for institutional investors and is today one of the largest manager of microfinance funds in Europe. Through investing in microfinance institutions, SEB’s microfinance funds provide financing for entrepreneurs and low and middle income households in emerging and frontier markets. Over 6 billion SEK has been invested through microfinance institutions reaching more than 19 million micro-entrepreneurs in 37 developing countries.

SEB is the only bank in the Nordic market that can offer institutional clients this type of investment. SEB's traditional life insurance companies invest in microfinance funds, which are thus made available to private pension customers.