Storebrand, the Norwegian financial group that runs a multi-boutique asset management model including Delphi, Skagen, SPP and Storebrand, among its businesses, has signed up to the Tobacco Free Finance Pledge (TFFP) at a United Nations ceremony in New York this week
The TFFP is an initiative of the Tobacco Free Portfolios, a non-governmental organisation that is encouraging investors to eliminate tobacco assets. The initiative is also supported by the UN PRI and UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance and the UN Environment’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
This support stems from data suggesting that tobacco kills seven million people annually across the globe, which is expected to rise to eight million by 2030. It is estimated that tobacco could kill one billion people through this century through tobacco related illnesses.
Åsa Wallenberg, head of Funds at Storebrand Asset Management, representing the Storebrand Group at the signing ceremony said: “For Storebrand, divesting tobacco from all our funds and portfolios already in 2005 was a natural move. Tobacco is a lethal investment that has a profound negative effect on public health. By signing this pledge we would like urge others to do the same and thus contribute to a tobacco free world.”
“By replacing tobacco with other non-cyclical consumer goods, Storebrand has proven for over 10 years that the exclusion of tobacco can be achieved without compromising returns. To exclude tobacco should therefore be an obvious choice for all investors,” added Wallenberg.
According to the UNEP FI, the TFFP has 92 founding signatories and 36 supporters. Collectively they represent assets of $6.82trn, comprising corporate loan book ($1.73trn), AUM ($5.04trn) and gross premiums ($45.57bn).
The key objectives of the Pledge include:
- Highlight the leadership of financial institutions that have implemented tobacco-free finance policies and encourage others to follow suit.
- Encourage the finance sector to play an active role in addressing global priorities, as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 3 Health and Well-Being and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals, in addition to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
- Raise awareness among financial institutions of the essential role the finance sector must play to assist effective tobacco control and to ensure a tobacco-free world.
- De-normalise financial and corporate associations with tobacco companies.
- Encourage financial institutions to reflect on and reconsider their business relationships with the tobacco industry in light of the global tobacco epidemic.
- Encourage the transition towards tobacco-free finance policies.
- Prioritise tobacco on the corporate agenda as a product and industry distinct from any other with no safe level of use and no opportunity for effective engagement.
Storebrand hs some 40,000 corporate customers, 1.9 million individual customers, and is headquartered in Lysaker outside Oslo. The group manages assets of NOK721bn (€76bn)