2019 marks 30 years of Sustainable Investments
A major environmental accident of a Pharma company on the doorstep of our headquarters in Basel prompted us to undertake our first analysis of a company through the lens of sustainability. This led, in 1989, to the first dedicated mandates managed according to environmental criteria and, a few years later, to the launch of the first environmentally-oriented mutual fund.
These milestones started a journey of increased awareness, education, performance and conviction.
Since then, we have continued to improve our approach, integrating the now widely accepted ESG (environment, social, governance) factors and applying sustainability considerations at each step of the investment process.
Over the years, we have developed a wide range of investment strategies, which cover the main asset classes. They demonstrate that using sustainability criteria helps investors to:
- Reduce risks
- Identify growth opportunities
- Validate the viability of business models over the long term
In addition, we exercise shareholder rights on behalf of our clients. Our approach is not only designed to encourage robust corporate governance structures but also to ensure that the rights of shareholders are protected. We aim to encourage changes in social and environmental practices, as well as greater transparency, so as to produce a positive impact.
Having integrated sustainability along the entire investment process, we provide clients with detailed reporting that includes an attribution across the full set of sustainability factors, for example:
- The portfolio’s carbon footprint compared with a benchmark portfolio
- An aggregated portfolio score that shows the controversy and negative reputational news exposure
- An annual report on our Active Ownership activities
At a firm level, Corporate Sustainability has also grown in importance at Bank J. Safra Sarasin, over the last decades. This means responsible and proactive governance, considering and integrating the interests of all the Group’s stakeholders into the decision-making process. In everything we do, we focus on our clients’ satisfaction, while balancing the needs of our employees as well as the requirements of the society for long-term prosperity and the integrity of the environment.
Today we are happy to see that sustainability considerations are part of the mainstream in the financial industry, globally. It is also widely accepted that the financial sector has a significant role to play in incentivising, measuring and holding to account how companies manage their sustainability challenges.
In 2019, our passion for sustainable investments is as strong as ever, we continue to grow our expertise and develop new approaches for the benefit of our clients.