Leaders of major European pension funds APG and AP7 are among top executives of 30 large organisations to form a new international alliance in which they aim to cooperate to foster investment in sustainable development.
The initiative, Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD), was announced this week at the United Nations in New York by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Ronald Wuijster, member of the executive board of APG Group responsible for asset management – and chairman of the board at APG Asset Management – is one of the representatives in the alliance, as is AP7 chief executive Richard Gröttheim, in his capacity as representative of Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development (SISD).
Speaking at the launch, Gröttheim said SISD was proud to be part of the inspiration for the UN to form GISD.
SISD consists of 18 pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies and investment companies, and is convened by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Gröttheim said it has worked on the role of investors regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since June 2016, and that this had resulted in new learning, new investments, corporate governance actions, and reporting in line with the goals.
“With all large actors within the GISD we can take investing and acting in line with the SDGs to a new level”
Richard Gröttheim, AP7 CEO and representative of Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development
“Properly applied, acting and investing in line with the SDGs is a true win-win-win. All this we have experienced within SISD,” said Gröttheim.
“With all large actors within the GISD we can take investing and acting in line with the SDGs to a new level, working with policies and incentives and regulations,” he said.
As chief executive of AP7, Gröttheim said he was representing the whole group behind the SISD, with approximately SEK650tn (€60tn) in assets under management.
GISD is co-chaired by Oliver Bäte, chief executive of Allianz, and Leila Fourie, chief executive of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Other members include the heads of Bank of America, Citigroup, ICBC, Infosys, Investec, Santander and UBS.
Guterres said people were facing widening inequality, increased devastation from conflicts and disasters and rapid global warming.
“These leaders have seized our sense of urgency, recognising that our pace must be at a run, not a crawl,” he said.
The GISD set out four aims for the next two years:
- Deliver solutions to unlock long-term finance and investment in sustainable development both at company and system-wide levels;
- Mobilise additional resources for countries and sectors most in need;
- Find ways to increase the positive impact of business activities; and
- Align business practices with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development