Investing in a sustainable tomorrow

ESG integration in European pensions

As long term investors, pension funds should be well placed to benefit from incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into their investment decisions. But in reality, many European funds — while increasingly interested in the potential of ESG — have yet to fully capture these benefits.

That is why we have produced this paper. It not only reflects the views of our own professionals but also of some of Europe’s leading adopters of ESG investing — which we define, in this paper, as weighing ESG factors equally alongside financial considerations. Our goal is to help European pension funds to grasp the potential benefits of ESG investment, and to avoid the potential risks of inaction. We hope the report will be of practical use not only to pension funds, but also to the organizations that help them achieve their goals. We are extremely grateful to all our interviewees for taking the time and effort to share the benefits of their experience with us.

The methodology of our research process involved:

• Conducting a desk-based review of academic literature, commercial research, public sector reports and industry publications.

• Seeking out and analyzing the views of EY subject matter professionals on pensions, investment, ESG and sustainability from across our EMEIA member firms.

• Interviewing a number of external experts from third party organizations focusing on identifying and understanding best practice. This included representatives from several large European pension funds that already make significant use of ESG investing. The interviews took place between April and June 2017.

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