Investing in accordance with ESG criteria

When making our investment decisions, we factor in environmental, social responsibility and good corporate governance criteria (ESG criteria). Depending on the situation, we use the entire spectrum of investment options, ranging from ESG integration to screening and thematic investments through to impact investing. We firmly believe that sustainability pays off in the long term. 

Why do ESG criteria matter?

Taking ESG criteria into account helps us assess the opportunities and risks involved in investing in assets and companies. As regards the environment, we are committed to making sustainable investments by including carbon figures in our investment decisions, for instance. We also support companies that are dedicated to improving their carbon footprint by promoting their projects that use our Transition Bonds to help reduce their carbon emissions.

We 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. Incorporating ESG criteria helps us reduce our risk and invest sustainably.

Our ESG approach

AXA Switzerland’s Asset Management unit practices sustainable investment on a comprehensive basis. Our ESG approach includes the following four components:

Our ESG screening criteria

We regard responsible corporate governance and transparency as essential. Sustainable investment therefore requires us to 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: 

  • Companies involved in tobacco manufacturing
  • Companies that develop, produce, store or trade in banned weapons
  • Palm oil or soybean producers or cattle farms that are associated with clearance of rain forests
  • Financial investments in agricultural commodities
  • Companies that derive revenues from coal mining or the generation of energy from coal (30 percent of revenue – total withdrawal by 2030 in the OECD and 2040 for the rest of the world)
  • Investments in companies from the oil and gas sector, unless they are on our White List (White List companies have a clear strategy for transitioning to renewable energies)

Currently there are more than 3,000 listed and unlisted companies, including subsidiaries, on our ESG exclusion list. To the AXA Group Responsible Investment Policy

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 8,000 companies in terms of environmental, social and governance (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 implementation

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.

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:

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