Governments and companies play an important role in bringing about a sustainable energy transition. As an investor we include climate protection in our investment process, to encourage and support our investee companies to speed up their efforts to reduce their impact on climate change. It is encouraging to see that more and more companies are taking steps to reduce their CO₂footprint.

Urgent call for climate action

At the end of 2015, we sent a letter to all our investee companies, calling on them to speed up their efforts to bring a halt to climate change. In our letter we stated that for us, a corporate climate protection strategy starts with full support from the board. It requires boards to develop a climate strategy policy and to monitor progress. We called upon companies to disclose their strategy on climate protection, develop targets that are in line with the COP21 Universal Agreement, to disclose their roadmap to meeting these targets and their annual progress in this regard. Finally, we also called on them to refrain from lobbying against policies aimed at meeting the Universal Agreement. During 2016, we closely monitored the progress made by companies on these targets. Twenty companies responded to our letter. We also called on companies to publicly report their CO₂ emissions, thus allowing us to monitor the total carbon footprint of our investment portfolio.

We further joined ShareAction's ‘RE100 investor group’ that calls on publicly-listed companies throughout Europe and the US, to commit to 100% renewable energy. The group now has 30 investors, with more than USD 1 trillion in assets under management.

Kingspan - energy efficiency

Kingspan Off-site (subsidiary of the Kingspan Group) showcases its zero-emission Lighthouse design, created to encourage a sustainable lifestyle using 100% renewable energy and sustainable indoor technologies
Kingspan Off-site (subsidiary of the Kingspan Group) showcases its zero-emission Lighthouse design, created to encourage a sustainable lifestyle using 100% renewable energy and sustainable indoor technologies

A good example of a company that actively contributes to countering climate change is Irish building products company Kingspan. The company’s products include insulation for roofs, walls and floors that lower the environmental impact of buildings, as well as wastewater recycling systems, and renewable energy systems such as small scale wind turbines, thermal solar power tubes and panels, and heat pumps. Its insulation products reportedly save up to 40% of a building’s energy consumption. The company integrates product lifecycle assessments (LCAs) in the design, manufacture, installation, use and disposal of its products and services, making them sustainable throughout their lifecycle.

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