As an asset owner and manager
As an asset owner and manager, sustainability considerations in general and climate change considerations in particular are an integral part of Swiss Life’s investment strategy, investment processes and investment product development. It is important to manage the assets entrusted to Swiss Life in a manner that takes into account physical and transition risks and that seizes opportunities arising from the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. Furthermore, Swiss Life offers its clients investment products and services based on sustainability aspects, such as energy efficiency and environmental protection, taking into account their individual needs and preferences. These investment products cover equities, bonds, real estate and infrastructure.
In the context of its PAM portfolio – securities, real estate and infrastructure – Swiss Life’s ambition is to make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development and thus contribute to a central goal of the Paris Agreement. In terms of its weighted average carbon intensity of the PAM securities portfolio, Swiss Life is already well positioned compared to the relevant benchmarks. Swiss Life wishes to maintain this position in the next strategic phase. In its direct area of influence as an asset owner and manager, Swiss Life will further reduce the carbon intensity of its directly held PAM real estate portfolio. It is thus pursuing a path towards net zero in its directly held PAM real estate portfolio by 2050.
In addition, the inclusion of ESG aspects in Swiss Life’s investment management process is being pursued further. Around 90% of all assets managed by Swiss Life take the “Responsible Investment” approach into account. Among other things, this gives due consideration to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The remaining assets under management are investment products, such as mortgages or discretionary mandates. Due to the product structure, the Responsible Investment approach is not yet applicable to these assets. Swiss Life applies its Responsible Investment approach not only to proprietary assets but also to third-party assets.
As part of the Responsible Investment approach, Swiss Life implements climate-related measures such as:
- Systematic consideration of ESG topics in risk and investment management
- Regular review of climate-related issues with potential impacts on investments (in particular via Paris Agreement Capital Transition Assessment, PACTA)
- For government and corporate bonds, Swiss Life targets investments with a lower carbon intensity overall.
- For the directly held PAM real estate portfolio, Swiss Life is pursuing a carbon reduction path to 2030 that is aligned with the 2050 net-zero target as per the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Exclusion criteria are defined for the PAM portfolio, which include a threshold value for coal.
- Parts of the new investments are actively used in the context of a green, social and sustainable bond1 programme to promote climate-friendly or sustainable technologies, projects and initiatives.
- The infrastructure funds invest in (among other things) renewable energy. Swiss Life Asset Managers also offers dedicated Clean Energy funds.
- For new investments in infrastructure, a climate risk assessment is carried out on the basis of an internal climate risk assessment.
- Third-party clients are also consulted on climate-related risks and opportunities.
Furthermore, Swiss Life considers active ownership, which comprises constructive engagement and the exercise of voting rights, as an integral part of its responsible investment approach. In this context, Swiss Life actively seeks to work with companies and relevant stakeholders to address ESG and specific climate-related challenges while safeguarding its clients’ financial interests.
For the prevention of “greenwashing”, Swiss Life relies on clear and transparent communication with its stakeholders to address sustainability aspects, including climate-related aspects. In the case of products in particular, it ensures that adequate control mechanisms exist and that definitions are based, where appropriate, on established industry standards. These control mechanisms include, for example, monthly reports depicting the key sustainability aspects of a portfolio and serving as a basis for discussion in certain committees (e.g. the Risk Committee). Additionally, Swiss Life observes, among other things, current regulatory requirements and specifications of the European Union and FINMA.
For further information, please see onwards (section “Metrics and Targets”, in the Sustainability Report (section “Sustainability as an Asset Owner and Manager”) and in the Responsible Investment Report.
1 Swiss Life definition of green bonds includes green, social and sustainable bonds which are in line with the “Green Bond Principles”, the “Social Bond Principles” and the “Sustainability Bond Guidelines” of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).