Going for a sustainable investment approach sounds easy. Just go for “green” investments, right? The reality is somewhat more complex...
And does “All things green”necessarily translate into sound investment decisions? In a world where terminology like “greenwashing” has entered the lexicon, how can we be sure investments are sustainable in reality? We asked these questions to Chief Investment Officer Wim Vermeir and David Veredas Professor at Vlerick Business School in Ageas’s 2030 podcast.
Sustainable investment is about optimising both financial and non-financial performances. Which means achieving the right return but also knowing the impact being made on the environment and society as a whole.
Simply put, investments can be categorized into three buckets: green, grey, and black. Green speaks for itself. Grey suggests progress is being made but it is not there yet. And black are those with heavy ecological impact and no clear prospect for improvement.
Wim Vermeir explains that as a company, Ageas has automatically excluded black activities, like coal, shale gas and arctic drilling. And we tend to favour green opportunities like renewable energy. Over the last 5 years alone we have invested around EUR 1 billion in green energy, wind and solar.
But that said, Ageas does not completely exclude the so-called grey investments. We seek to support those who are trying to transition to green over time, where we see a clear intent and sense of purpose. Ageas has a responsibility to push for strong clear progress, although it does take time.
According to David Veredas, it isn’t just about “big business” making change. Consumers can perhaps have an even stronger impact than investors in this transition. As consumers we get to make choices on what products and services we buy, and which investments we favour. We have seen the power of the consumer in other sectors over the past decade. And consumers are increasingly attracted to sustainable products when given the opportunity or the choice. So, the world of sustainable investing is a responsibility that needs to be embraced by all.
- Ageas has already directed EUR 10 billion towards investments that make a positive contribution to the transition to a more sustainable world and will further raise the bar.
- By 2024, ESG considerations will be integrated into 100% of our investment decisions.