- VidaCaixa and CaixaBank Asset Management have revalidated their A+ rating for outstanding management in Strategy and Good Governance. Meanwhile, BPI Gestão de Activos received the same rating, for the first time, after signing the PRI in April 2019.
- This is the highest rating awarded by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative, backed by the United Nations, and is only achieved by a third of signatories worldwide and less than 10% of total signatories in 2019.
- CaixaBank is committed to sustainable investment, understood as investment that not only offers financial returns for investors, but also promotes management that is coherent with the creation of value for the whole of society. In 2019, there was a 591% increase in average balances of Private Banking customers held in socially responsible investment funds.
Barcelona, 27 August 2020
CaixaBank, Spain’s leading retail bank, through its subsidiaries VidaCaixa and CaixaBank Asset Management, has revalidated the highest rating (A+) in responsible investment according to the PRI principles, an initiative backed by the United Nations, in recognition of the institution's firm commitment to boost sustainable investment, via the integration of social, environmental and good governance criteria in its investment decisions and products. Furthermore, BPI Gestão de Activos has obtained the same rating for the first time, after signing the PRI in April 2019. Only one third of signatory companies (formed of investment trusts, service provider organisations and investment managers all over the world) achieve this rating. Furthermore, in 2019 less than 10% of signatory companies achieved this score.
The international association of institutional investors that promotes the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), supported by the United Nations, has recognised the high level of implementation of the internationally consolidated principles by the CaixaBank insurance firm and investment fund manager, specifically in the field of Strategy and Good Governance.
In the case of VidaCaixa, the score has improved in the sections of direct equity and active property, increasing its dialogues with companies and through participation in the General Shareholder Meetings of the companies it invests in. In the case of CaixaBank Asset Management, the improvement with respect to the previous year occurred mostly in the area of listed equities.
The PRI is the largest international network of investors that promotes responsible investment in the world, with more than 3,000 registered companies, and is supported by the United Nations, in association with the UNEPFI initiative and the UN Global Compact. For the PRI, a global financial system that is economically efficient and sustainable is crucial for creating long-term value.
Committed to responsible investment
In line with its socially responsible banking model, CaixaBank is committed to sustainable investment, understood as investment that not only offers financial returns for investors, but that also promotes management coherent with the creation of value for the whole of society. In 2019, there was a 591% increase in average balances of Private Banking customers held in socially responsible investment funds. The products of VidaCaixa and CaixaBank AM related to this area are recording increases in average returns and assets, which demonstrates that it is possible to balance profitability with responsible investment.
In 2009, VidaCaixa became the first life insurer and pension fund manager in Spain to join the PRI. Today, 100% of its assets under management (€93 billion at 2019 year-end), and thus all of its products, are managed according to sustainability criteria. In 2020, the main improvements that the institution implemented, allowing them to maintain the highest rating, were the promotion of new political rights, adherence to the Climate Action 100+ collaborative initiative, and improved transparency though communication actions.
The average returns of CaixaBank's pension plans, via VidaCaixa, have historically exceeded the average in Spain over 1, 3, 5 and 10 years.
Furthermore, CaixaBank AM has achieved the maximum rating for the second year in a row. In 2020, the asset manager has enhanced political rights and new collaborations, and in 2019 it implemented an ESG (environmental, social and governance) training plan with the EFFAS Certified ESG Analyst programme (CESGA), whose aim is to train a third of employees in socially responsible investment. This type of investment takes into account environmental, social and business governance criteria that generate competitive financial yields in the long term and a positive social impact. 85.3% of CaixaBank AM's assets in Spanish funds (just over 46.6 billion euros at the time of the data analysis) is managed under sustainability criteria.
In relation to the more specific ESG range, we can highlight CaixaBank Selección Futuro Sostenible, which invests a minimum of 75% in collective investment institutions that meet sustainable investment criteria, managed by internationally renowned companies. At the close of June 2020, it had assets amounting to 242 million euros (+78% vs. December 2019).
On the other hand, the MicroBank Fondo Ético is a mixed fund, focused on ethics and solidarity, which integrates the search for profitability with social responsibility criteria. It also has a charity element, donating 25% of the management fee to non-profit organisations, whilst the "la Caixa" Foundation contributes an equivalent amount to an international cooperation project. At the close of June 2020, it had a volume of 99 million euros (+8.8% vs. December 2019).
Finally, the MicroBank Fondo Ecológico is an international equity fund that invests in a selection of environmentally responsible funds in sectors such as renewable energy, organic food, recycling and water treatment, among others. At the close of June 2020, it had a volume of 37.2 million euros (+13.7% vs. December 2019).
In April 2019, BPI Gestão de Activos became the first Portuguese investment fund management company to sign the PRI. For this reason, it developed an extensive process to align itself with the best practices of the Group, in terms of sustainability and responsible investment.
As well as approving socially responsible investment policies and procedures aligned with its shareholder CaixaBank Asset Management, BPI GA has actively participated in this institution's strategic plan.
Since then, the management firm has created a project with a renowned Portuguese business school to accelerate and expand on its SRI processes, including the development of an environmental, social and governance training plan for its whole workforce.
Meanwhile, BPI GA was also the first Portuguese institution to sign the Climate Action 100+ pact, to drive the transition towards clean energy and contribute to meeting the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement (COP21).
During the first half of 2020, CaixaBank has continued working to enhance financing to sustainable activities, according to ESG criteria:
With respect to green loans, aimed at financing activities whose goal is to have a certified environmental impact, CaixaBank ranked 2nd in Europe (together with Lead Bank), with a volume of $383 million. In the first half of the year, in relation to the field of green loans and ESG operations, according to Refinitiv Tables, CaixaBank ranked 9th in the world, as the Mandated Lead Arranger, in terms of number of transactions, and 12th in terms of volume, with 18 transactions for $1.7 billion dollars.
Additionally, CaixaBank has signed eight loans with a volume of €867 million, whose conditions are linked to recognition of good sustainability performance across the companies. This performance can be measured by an improvement in environmental indicators or the ranking obtained by ESG indices conducted by independent entities.
In this area it is important to highlight the first sustainable factoring contract in Spain. The operation stands out as it includes sustainability criteria in the pricing policy of this short-term financing method.
Additionally, in the first half of 2020, CaixaBank participated in the placement of five green bond issuances for an amount of €3.7 billion euros (€2.5 billion in 2019).
The six PRI principles
The Responsible Investment Principles were launched in 2006 under the framework of the United Nations. Since then, the number of signatory institutions has gone from 100 to more than 3,000, from more than 60 countries, which manage assets for a value of more than $80 billion.
It is a set of principles developed by and for investors, volunteers and aspiring investors, presenting a range of actions with which signatories can incorporate ESG factors in investment criteria, and contributing to the development of a more sustainable global financial system:
- Incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
- Be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into all practices and policies.
- Seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
- Promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
- Work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
- Report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.