07 December 2021 | 4 min. readingtime
a.s.r. wants to remain a frontrunner among sustainable insurers. This is why a.s.r. is taking the next step in making its own investment portfolio more sustainable. a.s.r. also seeks to actively help its insurance customers to become more sustainable.
CEO Jos Baeten: 'We are proud to announce such a sharp CO₂ reduction target for all major asset classes. The latest IPCC report has once again underlined that there is no room on this planet for our current fossil fuel consumption. As an asset manager with a long-term vision, we want to act on this by implementing an exit strategy for our fossil investments'.
We are rapidly making strong reductions in the CO₂ emissions of our entire investment portfolio. Our target is to reduce emissions by 65% by 2030 compared with 2015. Emissions from a.s.r.’s portfolio investments in government bonds, corporate bonds, listed shares, real estate and mortgages will therefore drop from 142 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent per €1 million of invested capital in 2015 to 47 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent per €1 million of invested capital in 2030.
With these sharp targets, we set the bar for ourselves and see a great opportunity for the sector as a whole to make an active contribution to the energy transition.
Today, a.s.r. is the first Dutch insurer to announce ambitious goals for phasing out fossil investments.
In phase 1, investments in producers of thermal coal and unconventional oil and gas products such as shale gas, arctic oil and tar sands will be sold immediately and are to be included in the list of excluded companies. A major part of the stakes in these ‘phase 1’ companies has already been sold. This is because a.s.r. has applied strict criteria for this since 2015. The size of the investments in phase 1 is over €80 million.
Phase 2 focuses on phasing out companies with activities related to metallurgical coal, such as coking coal for steel production, and conventional oil and gas production. The size of these investments amounts to €300 million. For the companies involved, we will determine during the period 2022-2024 whether the targets are in line with the transition path of the Paris Agreement. If this is not the case, and there is no prospect of meeting these targets through dialogue in that period, we will sell our stakes and reinvest in companies that do meet the transition targets.
Phase 3 focuses on phasing out companies in the fossil chain and companies from the most greenhouse gas-intensive sectors. This concerns a portfolio of approximately €320 million that includes utility companies, and companies active in transport and basic materials. In our view, these companies can play an important role in the transition to a climate-neutral economy. The starting point is that their CO₂ emission targets are in line with the Paris targets of reducing global temperature increase to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. In the coming years, the emphasis will be on our role as an active investor to make a positive contribution to the necessary transition to a climate-neutral economy through engagement and the selection of the best-performing companies and frontrunners.
In addition to preventing negative impact, a.s.r. wants to make a positive contribution to the energy transition and to other a.s.r. sustainability themes such as health, vitality, inclusion and financial self-sufficiency. Therefore, a.s.r. is increasing its current exposure for impact investments by €850 million per year to a total of €4.5 billion in 2024. The available budget will be invested in green bonds, affordable housing, renewable energy and sustainable home mortgages. a.s.r. vermogensbeheer will reinvest the funds that become available through the sale of fossil investments in green and sustainable projects.
a.s.r. is joining the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance to reduce CO₂ emissions in our insurance portfolio. In this partnership, several leading (re)insurers are working together to make their insurance portfolios climate-neutral by 2050. The focus will initially be on the corporate non-life insurance portfolio.