Organisations responsible for managing Asia’s enormous pools of financial assets are increasingly motivated by a desire to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, according to a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The EIU interviewed large asset owners in Asia, and found that over the past three to five years many had become much more aware of, and committed to investing on environmental, social and governance lines. This has been driven in part by the example of some of the region’s largest pools of capital, such as the Japanese government pension fund, which has not only changed its own approach to investing, but encouraged the wider investment industry to follow suit.
The researchers also found that the SDGs have provided a framework for investors to measure their impacts, and a motivation to improve their performance.
Jason Wincuinas, editor of the report, said: “An important takeaway from this research is that SGDs have far more meaning among these massive asset owners than many in the financial-services industry have assumed. SGDs inform stewardship codes, which in turn become the guidelines for directing where and how funds are invested. So it’s crucial to recognise that those top-level conversations do have real-world implications. SDGs are not merely aspirations. A lot of people in finance can be quick to dismiss SGDs as platitudes but we found there is a huge amount of support at some of the largest asset owners in the world—and within their respective governments. They take this very seriously and they are putting their money where [their] mouth is in the most direct way possible.”
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