ABP has warned companies hit by the credit crunch they must not neglect corporate and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors or they risk poor performance and scrutiny from investors.
Rob Lake, head of sustainability at the management organisation of ABP, told Global Pensions: "Whilst companies might be under pressure from the credit crunch in the short or medium term, they will still need to demonstrate their businesses can respond to significant sustainability issues such as climate change and show corporate responsibility.
"Consumer and social expectation of companies is a long term trend that is here to stay."
In releasing its ESG report, ABP announced it had adapted its philosophy to integrate ESG factors into all its investments.
Lake explained: "It is in our interest as an investor to address companies not complying to internationally accepted standards as a company's financial performance would affect our ability to pay pensions."
Tim Currell, head of sustainable investment and corporate governance, Hewitt, praised ABP's efforts: "It is encouraging to see ABP has taken a broad view and not just concentrated on one aspect. It has also included alternative asset classes, such as infrastructure, under the sustainability umbrella."
Currell added mainstream managers could follow ABP's lead. "ESG is no longer niche, but can really add value for investors.
"This type of report is way beyond what most pension funds could produce, but trustees should ask their managers for this information as it becomes more important when making investment choices."
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