Actiam bans tobacco from portfolios

After announcing it was divesting from companies that derive more than 15% of their revenue from coal mining, Dutch manager Actiam is excluding tobacco manufacturers from all portfolios and index funds.

The ban is effective as from today. The manager seeks to be compliant with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

Dennis van der Putten, head of Responsible Investment at Actiam said: “With its responsible investment policy, Actiam aims to contribute to a world worth living in. Now and in the future. We want to make a proactive contribution to a positive future. A future in which tobacco, adult entertainment and gambling have no place. By excluding tobacco, we are making further steps towards shaping our investment policy around social themes.”

He added: “We have established limits in terms of human rights and labour rights, environment, corruption and integrity. We do not to exceed these limits even if this would in theory generate more profit. It is sometimes a grey area and we have therefore established a list of exclusions in various areas.

“However, we prefer engagement rather than exclusion, i.e. we engage in discussions with companies to encourage them to improve their way of doing business in order to achieve better results. By excluding companies, you lose influence, and the question is whether this helps to achieve the right kind of change.

“Companies that are excluded miss the pressure of the critical shareholder that is needed to change their ways.”

Actiam’s responsible investment head said however that in the case of tobacco, the manager “does not harbour” the illusion that engagement will lead to a good and harmless product.

Actiam had €54.6bn in assets under management as at end-December 2016.

Adrien Paredes-Vanheule
Adrien Paredes-Vanheule is deputy editor and French-Speaking Europe Correspondent for InvestmentEurope, covering France, Belgium, Geneva and Monaco. Prior to joining InvestmentEurope, he spent almost five years writing for various publications in Monaco, primarily as a criminal and financial court reporter. Before that, he worked for newspapers and radio stations in France, in particular in Lyon.

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