Our 2020 Annual Sustainability Report is out!
2020 was a key year for responsible investing and ESG funds. As the pandemic raged for most of the year and investors remained cautious, sustainable investing became mainstream as it managed to grow by over 50% in an otherwise subdued fund market.
Whether this rate of growth will repeat itself in the coming years remains to be seen, but we can clearly see a paradigm shift in asset owners’ attitude towards responsible investing. The superposition of 3 global problems – climate change, rising inequalities and corporate governance – with an increased realisation that finance has a massive responsibility in tackling these very pressing issues have initiated a Copernican revolution in the role that saving plays in shaping tomorrow’s world. This change has percolated at every level: the political and regulatory environment, the financial industry and the savers who no longer ignore the impact that their collective pool of assets can have in defining the future.
In Europe, this change has given birth to the new regulations that are aiming at creating both common standards and a level playing field for responsible investing. The introduction of the Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector (SFDR) and several other national initiatives should help investors navigate through the maze of claims made by the investment management industry. It is clearly only a beginning, and it is easy to be critical of the first step in trying to regulate any claim that is being made by financial service firms. However, the direction of travel is now very clear, and we foresee a much healthier environment, where claims of adherence to ESG standards are now set in a clear framework and funds are classified according to their degree of commitment to integrating ESG criteria in their investment policy.
For boutique players like QUAERO CAPITAL, this has been a most welcome development. The asset management industry’s role is to manage saving and maximize risk adjusted after fee returns for the savers. At the same time, we are also committed to key investment principles that are grounded in our core belief that our industry must have a positive contribution to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Such principles drive our exclusion policy and our conviction for the need for good corporate governance. As a firm, we are also striving to improve on some metrics, such as carbon footprint and climate change. In 2020, we were very pleased to be awarded A+ in our PRI assessment for Strategy & Governance, reflecting the strong commitment and investment made in recent years to responsible investment.
At the same time, we have also made strong commitment to strategies and projects that have a meaningful impact on climate change and responsible investing. Our European infrastructure strategy has committed substantial capital to several clean energy projects and monitors closely the impact its target investments have towards the achievement of the UN SDG. Equally, our Accessible Clean Energy strategy has seen strong growth in 2020 and we are pleased that it meets the “article 9” criteria of the new SFDR regulations in Europe.