SEB Investment Management is one of the Nordic region's leading asset managers, and under 2021, the fund company managed 831 billion Swedish kronor (78 billion euros) in its funds. During the year, a new, updated sustainability policy was adopted, which means that all funds managed by SEB Investment Management must exclude investments in fossil fuels. In addition, there is a new model to strengthen the analysis of all companies in the investment portfolio, with a focus on material sustainability risks and opportunities.
During the year, SEB Investment Management joined both the IIGCC Paris Aligned Investment initiative and its Private Equity working group, and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, a climate initiative that means that the fund company undertakes the responsibility of supporting investments in line with reaching net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. SEB Investment Management has committed itself to achieving carbon neutral assets under management by 2040, with intermediate targets for a 50 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and 75 percent by 2030. Compared to 2019 in both cases.
SEB Investment Management's funds are now classified in accordance with SFDR (Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation) and 82 per cent of the assets under management in funds are classified as either Article 8 (light green) or Article 9 (dark green). During the year, two new thematic Article 9 funds were launched: SEB Global Climate Opportunity Fund, which invests in companies whose purpose is to contribute to the Paris Agreement, and SEB Global Equal Opportunity Fund, which invests in companies that are pioneers in terms of diversity and gender equality.
“2021 has been a mixed year when it comes to sustainable investments. While the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow once again put the spotlight on measures taken by states, companies, and other leading players to combat climate change and fulfil the commitments made in Paris in 2015, we also saw rising fossil energy prices during parts of the year, among other things as a result of the already tense security situation,” says Javiera Ragnartz, head of SEB Investment Management.
SEB Investment Management strives to be a strategic partner to the companies they invest in, especially where the funds are among the larger owners. To be able to do this, great emphasis is placed on company dialogues – a good way to support and influence the companies based on the sustainability criteria that have been set. Within the framework of SEB Investment Management's corporate governance work, the fund company participated in 35 nomination committees prior to the 2021 annual general meetings and voted at 331 general meetings and sustainability-focused dialogues with 1,250 companies.
“We continue to develop the sustainability work,” says Elisabet Jamal Bergström, sustainability manager at SEB Investment Management. “The climate has long been in focus, and I think it will continue. But sustainability is also about, for example, gender equality, inclusion and fighting corruption. We also see that our customers want to increase their impact investments and we will continue to develop our funds to meet that need. In addition, the development of regulation in sustainability continues at a high pace.”