There seems to be a great deal of disagreement about which companies should be excluded.
Focus on climate in Denmark and Sweden
From an environmental protection perspective, most Nordic countries have excluded investments in (thermal) coal companies, while Dutch pension funds are still not doing this on a large scale. Meanwhile, excluding oil and tar sands has become commonplace in Denmark and Sweden. These two countries’ largest pension funds were actually the first to start excluding oil companies from their portfolios.
An interesting finding from our study is that while pension funds concur on broad topics such as environmental damage, human rights and labor rights, there seems to be a great deal of disagreement about which companies should actually be excluded.
These variations between the exclusion policies reflect a healthy degree of diversity in the different approaches to sustainable investing. Sustainability means many things to many people. But these differences can also create challenges for asset managers. In particular, they ensure managers cannot follow a one-size-fits-all approach when developing sustainable investment solutions for institutional investors.