The attitude of the company to its basic values and therefore to the investment motives of private and institutional investors has changed radically in the course of the last decade. Ten years ago, these changes prompted ERSTE-SPARINVEST to launch a gradual process of developing the broadest range of ethical and sustainable funds in Austria. Now as the leading provider of sustainable investment funds in Austria with a total volume of approximately EUR 630 million, ERSTE-SPARINVEST lays down stringent criteria for selecting potential investments. Issues such as nuclear power, child labour, the armaments industry and pornography are excluded from the sustainability funds.
Erste Asset Management and ERSTE-SPARINVEST have taken another step towards strengthening ethical principles in investments by appointing a Chief Sustainability Investment Officer. Wolfgang Pinner, who heads up the Sustainability Team of ERSTE-SPARINVEST, will take on this role. He will be responsible for promoting strategic partnerships with companies or institutions in the area of sustainability, elaborating voting strategies and sustainable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as well as devising exclusion criteria, etc.
In this context we should note that following a long introductory phase, ERSTE-SPARINVEST committed itself at the beginning of this year to exclude companies which are engaged in "cluster munitions" from ALL of the investment funds that it actively manages. Sustainability ratings agency Oekom Research (www.oekom-research.com) supports the company in eliminating from its investment universe all of the businesses that "fit the bill" in this context.
The United Nations believes the way certain weapon systems work is so inhumane that various conventions have already been drawn up to banish these weapons, the most renowned being the "Oslo Convention". "The exclusion criterion of "cluster munitions" that ERSTE-SPARINVEST has now implemented includes all types of controversial weapons and is prescribed as mandatory for all actively managed mandates", added Heinz Bednar, CEO. "We believe that this approach forms an essential part of a responsible investment policy."