Responsible Investing


Responsible Investing

Growing awareness of social, governance and environmental issues has led to interest in responsible investing products among private and institutional investors. Responsible investing is a way of allowing clients to combine their financial goals with their concerns for the environment, society and corporate governance.

KBC as pioneer since 1992

KBC has been a pioneer in the field of Responsible Investing (RI) for over 30 years and we now offer RI funds in all our core countries. We endorse the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and have enshrined them in our general investment policy.

We offer three types of RI funds, each with their own specific characteristics and criteria:     

  • Responsible fundsinvest in companies or countries that promote sustainability aspects and make efforts to limit climate change.   
  • ECO-thematic funds invest in companies that provide solutions to a specific sustainability challenge such as climate change or water scarcity.
  • Impact Investing funds invest in companies that have a positive impact on society and/or the environment through their products and/or services.

We have strict sustainability criteria in place for both our conventional funds and our RI funds. For example, KBC Asset Management has excluded from all its actively managed funds all utility companies that use thermal coal to generate electricity and all companies thatextract thermal coal.

More information on the exclusion policies for our conventional and RI funds is available in the KBC Group Sustainability Policy Framework and on KBC Belgium’s commercial website.

'Towards Sustainability' quality label

All KBC’s RI funds comply with the quality standard criteria imposed by the ‘Towards Sustainability’ label. This label was developed at the initiative of Febelfin, the sector association for the Belgian financial services industry. KBC Group has been a signatory of this label since its inception.

Regulatory framework

KBC Asset Management current RI framework is a KBC in-house but well proven and externally challenged framework. KBC Asset Management is further aligning this framework to new EU regulations such as SFDR and MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) and currently works under the assumption that all RI funds are either article 8 or article 9 funds under the SFDR.

Exclusion criteria

We have strict sustainability criteria in place for our conventional funds. For RI funds, we go one step further by applying additional exclusion policies. This includes exclusions for gambling, conventional weapons, fur and specialty leather, adult entertainment, palm oil and fossil fuels. In addition, we apply a norm-based policy that excludes companies involved in severe controversies relating to environmental, social or governance issues.

Independent expertise through the RI Advisory Board

KBC AM works closely the RI Advisory Board. The body consists of leading academics, who are experts in fields such as human rights, business ethics, biology and ecology. The board advises us on sustainability policies for our RI funds as well as screening results.

Increasing the sustainability performance of our investee companies

KBC Asset Management wants to increase the sustainability performance of its investee companies. There are two main ways in which it tries to do so:

  • Proxy Voting: The importance of sustainability is ever increasing and by now forms an integral part of our proxy voting policy. As an asset manager, we represent clients, invested in companies through our equity funds and mixed funds with equity positions, at shareholder meetings. We use proxy voting to do so. We believe that the incorporation of sustainability in our proxy voting policy is necessary to act in the best long-term interests of our clients. Also, we believe that shareholder activism concerning sustainability issues may have a positive impact on the companies we invest in.
  • Engagement: KBC AM interacts with investee companies on an ongoing basis. Sustainability issues form an important part of these interactions. KBC AM engages in collective and individual engagement.

For more information on KBC’s Responsible Investing funds, we refer to Responsible investing - KBC Banking & Insurance or our 2023 Sustainability Report