Socially Responsible Investments

KBC is a pioneer and one of the largest players in Belgium in sustainable and socially responsible investing. We want to give our clients the opportunity to invest in sustainable companies and countries that recognise their social and environmental responsibility. This allows us to jointly contribute to a more sustainable society and to help limit the adverse impact that businesses have on society. 

Sustainable and responsible investments

Growing awareness of social and environmental issues has led to interest in sustainable and socially responsible investment products among private and institutional investors. Sustainable and socially 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 a long tradition of sustainable and socially responsible investments. In 1992, it launched the first socially responsible investment fund in Belgium. Since then, we have regularly brought new solutions to the market and our methodology has become increasingly stringent. KBC Asset Management was also the first financial institution in Belgium to have its own SRI research unit. We also endorse the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (www.unpri.org) and have enshrined them in our general investment policy.

Fully in line with our sustainability strategy, all SRI funds are fossil fuel-free since November 2017. And in May 2018 KBC launched Pricos SRI, the first SRI pension savings fund on the Belgian market, fossil free and fully compliant with BEAMA sustainability criteria. In 2019, all our sustainable and socially responsible funds obtained the 'Towards Sustainability' label, an initiative of Febelfin.

A full range of sustainable and responsible investment solutions

KBC offers a wide variety of sustainable and socially responsible investment funds, ranging from traditional Best-in-Class funds and Sustainability Themed funds, to the recently added Impact Investing funds.
• Best-in-Class investment funds invest in companies or countries that – compared to peers - are the best performers in terms of sound corporate governance, the environment and social themes.
• Sociallyl and responsible themed nvestment funds invest in companies active in areas such as climate change, the looming shortage of drinking water or the quest for alternative energy.
• The third category, Impact Investing funds, invests in companies whose goods and/or services clearly have a positive influence on our society. We look, in other words, for companies that make it their core business activity not only to generate a financial return, but also to contribute positively to society or the environment.

KBC fund managers apply stringent screening methods for companies and countries

Thorough screening, based on strict and clear rules, is carried out to determine which companies and countries make up the investment universe for sustainable and socially responsible investment solutions. We rule out investments in certain companies due to their controversial activities. We source information about companies from – amongst others - Sustainalytics, an external research agency specialising in sustainability research. KBC Asset Management puts a lot of emphasis on transparency and therefore makes all its research results available on its website.

How we guarantee independence

Sustainable and socially responsible investing stands or falls by its credibility. Therefore the sustainability policy and criteria are monitored by the SRI Advisory Board, which is fully independent of KBC. The body consists of leading academics from several universities, who are experts in fields like human rights, business ethics, biology and ecology. They operate in their own name and do not represent the institutions at which they are employed. They decide which screening methodology we should use and set the criteria for rating companies. They also ensure that screening is complete, thorough and accurate.

Proxy voting: casting our vote as shareholder in the interest of our clients

KBC Asset Management pursues an active policy of proxy voting and engagement. By exercising the rights attached to shares held by the investment funds and by making its voice heard at the annual general meetings of these companies, KBC aims to defend the interests of its clients and investors. KBC Asset Management applies this active voting policy to several different themes, recognising that business, corporate governance and sustainability issues all determine the value of a company in the medium and long terms. All these factors can have a significant impact on value creation or the return enjoyed by clients and investors. In 2020, we participated in 320 general meetings and voted on a total of 3950 resolutions.
For more information on KBC’s sustainable and responsible investments, feel free to visit Socially responsible investment - KBC Banking & Insurance

 

 

Last update: 29-03-2019
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