Undoubtedly, the creation of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) marked a turning point for the sector, alongside other initiatives that have stimulated progress on SRI. According to data from the latest annual report of the SRI Observatory (end of 2008), twelve pension funds with a total capital of EUR 12,068,000 million and 182,927 participants met SRI criteria at that time (15.4% of all pension funds in Spain). Given the growing interest by pension funds in SRI, and the reaction to some of the underlying causes of the recent financial crisis, this figure is expected to grow.
VidaCaixa recently signed up to the United Nations PRI, which is the main worldwide project for stimulating investment management on the basis of environmental, social and good corporate governance criteria.
For VidaCaixa, this is a further step towards improving its responsible performance, and is in line with several initiatives undertaken by the group in recent years. Indeed, VidaCaixa is the first insurance company and pension fund manager in Spain to adhere to these principles.
Improvements in responsible management have been introduced each year. Adherence to the PRI was the culmination of this process and at the same time, the start of a long voyage, details of which are in the “Corporate Responsibility Report” of SegurCaixa Holding (on the website www.segurcaixaholding.com). The report was drawn up in line with the parameters of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI-3) at its most demanding level (A+), and ratified by an independent expert.
For almost ten years, VidaCaixa has used monitoring questionnaires to select investment management teams, favouring those that already include SRI practices, urging those who have not yet done so to introduce such practices, and excluding those that do not comply with VidaCaixa’s requirements.
Currently all investments include socially responsible investment filters. VidaCaixa is proud that the model designed by the company has enabled more customers to adhere to these principles, and the “la Caixa” employee pension fund has also signed up to the PRI.
VidaCaixa’s experience does not as yet show that SRI investments are more profitable. On the other hand, the results lend support to the conviction that SRI does not mean a loss of profitability, and that it is a way of influencing companies, so that their management takes on board the importance of socially responsible behaviour in their business operations.
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