Investing in accordance with ESG criteria

By integrating ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) factors, we take account of environmental, social and responsible corporate governance criteria in reaching our investment decisions. Key ESG criteria include, for example, a company’s carbon footprint and respect for employee rights. As a responsible investor, we only invest in companies that meet our ESG criteria.

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Why do the ESG criteria matter? 

Taking ESG criteria into account helps us assess the opportunities and risks that exist when investing in assets and companies. We also firmly believe that taking account of sustainability criteria when making investments enables us to generate a better long-term return for our customers and investors. Taking account of ESG criteria therefore helps us minimize our risk and invest sustainably.

Our ESG approach

AXA Switzerland’s asset management unit practices “sustainable investment” on an comprehensive basis. Our ESG approach includes the following four components:

AXA’s ESG approach

AXA’s ESG approach

Our ESG screening criteria

We regard responsible corporate governance and transparency as essential. Sustainable investment therefore requires us to limit or pull out of controversial investments that do not meet these requirements (divestment). Taking account of ESG factors, we screen out the following companies from our investment business: 

  • No companies involved in tobacco manufacturing
  • No companies that develop, produce, store or trade in banned weapons
  • No producers of palm oil that are associated with the destruction of rain forest
  • No financial investments in agricultural commodities
  • No tar sands or shale oil companies (>20% of sales)
  • No companies with sales derived from from coal mining or generating power from coal (>30% of sales)

There are currently more than 720 companies on our ESG exclusion list. Go to our Responsible Investment Guidelines

ESG integration into our investment processes

Sustainability criteria play a key role in the investment process of AXA Switzerland. To decide which stocks to invest in, we analyze and evaluate more than 8000 companies in terms of ESG criteria. We do so on the basis of data from external agencies such as MSCI and internal analyses and thus integrate ESG risks and opportunities into our investment decisions. We analyze our portfolios regularly and systematically to check whether our guidelines have been implemented correctly or whether changes should be made.   

Responsibilities for ESG investments

Responsibility for implementing and updating the Responsible Investment Strategy is clearly defined at AXA. Within the AXA Group, the Responsible Investment Committee (RIC), headed by the AXA Group Chief Investment Office, is responsible for preparing and monitoring the guidelines. There are also expert bodies such as the ESG Footprint Committee. This committee reviews issuers and sectors that have been called into question from an ESG perspective. It also votes on whether the investment is still allowed and whether to initiate measures such as divestment, engagement or a credit check. The Chief Investment Officer of AXA Switzerland is responsible for the implementation of the sustainability strategy for investments in Switzerland and the Responsible Investment Center of Expertise monitors local implementation.

Source: 2020 Climate Report, page 8.

Source: 2020 Climate Report, page 8.

Our engagement and our memberships in pursuit of sustainable investment  

We believe investors worldwide should drive positive change and collaboration. We are therefore committed to sustainable investment both in Switzerland and in the context of international initiatives. AXA is a member of various groups and associations promoting responsible investment. We are involved in the following initiatives among others:

AXA Switzerland has had a partnership with the Impact Finance Forumsince 2021. The Forum positions itself as the leading national conference in the financial sector. The aim is to raise the issue of sustainable investment and contribute to a stable and sustainable Swiss financial center. AXA would like to encourage and assist other companies along the path toward a more sustainable future." As a partner in the Impact Finance Forum, we aim to highlight the importance and positive impact of sustainable investment and disseminate information on the topic.

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