BBVA Asset Management signed the Principles for Responsible Investment supported by the United Nations (known as UN PRI), intended to reflect reflecting the increasing relevance of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues to investment practices. The signing of these principles by BBVA Asset Management is global, which is why BBVA's asset managers in Europe, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina have also committed to these principles.
The employment pension plan offered by BBVA and GPP, the Group's workplace pension plan manager in Spain, became signatories of the UN PRI since 2008. As signatory of these principles, BBVA’s asset manager now joins an international network of about 4,000 institutional investors that manage assets worth a combined total of $120 trillion. Also in 2019, BBVA signed the Principles for Responsible Banking, promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
With the signing of the UN PRIs, BBVA Asset Management committed to adopting the six principles of responsible investment: incorporating ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes; being active owners and incorporating ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices (e.g., the exercising of voting rights during annual general meetings); seeking appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest; promoting acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry; working together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles; reporting on a regular basis on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.
These Principles sum up the commitment of a group of banking institutions and the United Nations to take on the climate emergency and sustainability challenges facing society today.
Paloma Piqueras, Global Director of BBVA Asset Management & Global Wealth: "By signing the PRI we reinforce our commitment to integrating sustainability into our asset management business. Incorporating sustainable investment criteria into all our products and services is one of our strategic priorities. More than two years ago, we started working on a plan whose results we have already implemented in our business in Europe and which will soon be rolled out across other geographies. Our goal, in line with PRI recommendations, is to integrate sustainable investment at the most demanding levels, evolving our models and expanding their scope to keep up with the pace of progress in this new and exciting field of sustainability.
Fiona Reynolds, general director of PRI: “We are very happy BBVA's decision to expand its commitment to responsible investment and welcome its global Asset Management division as signatory of the PRI. BBVA joined PRI many years ago, with the signing in 2008 by its employee pension fund and employer pension management unit, followed by its insurance division more recently. We are delighted to see BBVA delivering on its commitment across all these business units, and now across its global Asset Management unit too, by incorporating ESG factors into their decision making processes. We look forward to keep working with the team.”
Progress in BBVA AM's Sustainability Plan
In 2020, BBVA Asset Management announced the launch of a company-wide Sustainability Plan. The goal of the plan is incorporating sustainability criteria into the investment process for all investment vehicles under management. The plan builds on four pillars: commitment, exclusion, integration and impact strategy.
Among a number of initiatives the plan envisaged the development of an in-house ESG rating system, with a proprietary assessment methodology supported by data from external providers and applied to all assets under management in the portfolios. Likewise, the management company struck a deal with Robeco whereby the Dutch firm will advise BBVA's sustainable equity funds.
As for the commitment pillar envisaged in the Sustainability Plan, BBVA AM has expanded the list of geographies entitled to cast votes at investees’ annual general meetings. Spain, Luxembourg, Mexico and Portugal management units are already in a position to exercise their voting rights. Also, the company has expanded the range of companies in whose general meetings this voting right will be exercised, especially in the United States.
BBVA AM remains focused on making progress in its sustainability plan, including the development of a portfolio of sustainable solutions covering all customer profiles, reinforcing the information of the sustainable metrics they rely on. The development of a climate risk management strategy and establishing commitments and goals consistent with the portfolio carbon footprint reduction target are also among the following lines of work of the sustainability plan.
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