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By Dieter Holger
Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Detailhandel is moving 5.8 billion euros ($6.6 billion) into a sustainable portfolio that tracks an index it created with FTSE Russell and BlackRock Inc. (BLK), the companies said Tuesday.
The index is an "important first step" in aligning the pension fund's entire portfolio with environmental, social and governance data and the United Nations sustainable development goals, said Henk van der Kolk, chairman at Pensioenfonds Detailhandel.
The move comes as Europe leads the world in sustainable investing, with both asset managers and retail investors placing more money in companies in line with their values than the U.S. market.
Monique Donders, country manager for the Netherlands at BlackRock, said: "Many of our clients are reviewing how their portfolios are built and seek solutions that express their sustainability objectives."
Using ESG data from FTSE Russell, the index holds a basket of around 1,130 companies in developed markets--excluding South Korea--in an effort to maximize broad market returns, but weighs how much money is put in each company based on issues such as climate change, human rights and labor standards.
The index's parent benchmark is the FTSE Developed ex Korea index, which contains around 2,000 companies. However, the sustainability index screen outs more than 800 of the companies that don't follow the UN Global Compact or are involved in controversial weapons, such as landmines and chemical warfare.
Although it can still include fossil-fuel companies, the index slashes investments in carbon-dioxide emissions and fossil-fuel reserves by approximately 50% compared with its parent, and boosts exposure to green revenue by 10%, said Waqas Samad, chief executive of FTSE Russell.
"This innovative approach demonstrates our firm commitment to support investors as they make the choice to incorporate sustainable investment objectives," Mr. Samad said.
Write to Dieter Holger at firstname.lastname@example.org; @dieterholger
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 26, 2019 06:29 ET (10:29 GMT)
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