BELGIUM - Pension fund demand for SRI is set to increase significantly in Belgium despite the fact they have thus far failed to convert their words into action, said Peter de Proft, CEO for Belgium at Fortis Investments.
De Proft pointed out that, under the Vandenbrucke pension law, funds were required to provide an analysis of what they were doing in the SRI field.
"Pension funds are more concerned about it now, that is why we set up an SRI investment centre in October and why we are creating an SRI bond fund.
"We will see increased demand for SRI, and it will be big going forward. It is true that pension funds often talk about SRI plans and then fail to act on them, but it is certainly growing in Belgium now," he said, and added that various government bodies and NGOs were also putting SRI plans into action.
Stewart Armer, product CIO, was appointed to head up the investment cetre, and he added that clients were increasingly demanding investment approaches that not only delivered investment returns but that also took account of social, environmental and governance issues.
SRI managers need to go further than simple negative exclusion approaches towards processes that identify those companies that are actually building competitive advantage through responding to sustainability challenges, said Armer. These companies are rethinking their business models and reorienting their product portfolios”.
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Malcolm Mclean says getting the channels of communication right and engaging more openly is a good starting point