If you think it's important to invest in a way that benefits society and still want to keep the chance of a good return, then socially responsible investment is a sensible choice.
What is socially responsible investment?
Socially responsible investment – also known as ethical or sustainable investment – means investing:
- with respect for people and the environment
- without sacrificing any potential return
Why should you choose socially responsible investment?
Socially responsible investments are no longer seen as 'alternative'. It involves investing in well-managed companies with a long-term vision. These companies recognise their social responsibility, which makes them perform better. But this also carries advantages for you, the investor.
Belgium has a large selection of sustainable savings and investment products, with socially responsible investment funds(1) among the most important.
Which socially responsible fund should you invest in?
Best-in-class investment funds
If you are concerned about all aspects of a more sustainable society
Best-in-class investment funds invest in companies or in countries that are among the best-performing in their sectors in terms of socially responsible behaviour. This is assessed through a range of sustainability criteria that look at areas such as sound corporate management, the environment, social aspects and human rights. The best-in-class approach comprises a diversified selection of shares and/or bonds on the basis of a broad range of sustainability criteria. The companies and countries involved are screened very thoroughly.
What does the screening involve?
- Clear and strict rules
|KBC Asset Management screens around 2 400 companies worldwide to ascertain how much effort they put into socially responsible business practices. As part of this we work with Sustainalytics, a leading research agency with over 20 years' experience.|
|Selecting the most sustainable countries|
The screening is based on five equally weighted criteria:
- Clear policy
KBC Asset Management rules out investments by sustainable funds in certain companies due to their controversial activities, such as gambling, space travel, defence sector, etc.
A policy has been established for certain other activities, which indicates that investments in companies performing activities of this kind can only be made under specific conditions. This includes nuclear energy and coal, or indirect investment in agricultural lands.
Socially responsible investments stand or fall by their credibility.
The SRI Advisory Board is an independent body that monitors the screening and management of the socially responsible investments promoted by KBC, and which supervises the proper performance of the sustainability assessment.
The SRI Advisory Board is made up of experts in the following fields:
- Sustainable business practices
- Business ethics
- Business management
- Social relations
- Human rights
The experts act in their own name, and do not represent the university or institution they work for.
Thematic investment funds?
If you're looking for promising investment ideas, or you want to place a particular emphasis within your investment portfolio
If you want to invest your savings in companies that make a
sustainable contribution to solving social problems, you will
definitely find what you are looking for here.
You can find environmental topics here, such as:
- the development of alternative energy sources
- combating climate change
- water purification and desalination in order to solve the looming shortage of drinking water
- environmentally-friendly transportation
The SRI Advisory Board (an independent committee) works together with KBC Asset Management to identify how these environmental topics can be addressed. They determine whether or not a company qualifies.
Impact investment funds?
If you think sustainable development is important
Sustainable development combines:
- concern for the load capacity of natural systems with
- social and economic challenges for humanity
This new trend in socially responsible investment does not involve choosing companies that generate their products and services in a sustainable way; rather it tends towards companies that want their products and services to have a positive impact on society and the environment. That means that the investor can see for themselves whether or not the company they have invested in has a positive effect on society.
Are you interested in socially responsible investment?
Sustainable companies are well-managed companies with a clear long-term vision. That's partly why socially responsible investment can go hand in hand with an attractive return.
KBC Asset Management is currently the domestic market leader in socially
responsible investment funds (source: BEAMA), and has expanded its
range to include over 100 socially responsible investment funds. As a
result, you can build a balanced investment portfolio entirely out of
socially responsible investment funds.
With the Fund Finder, you can quickly gain an overview of the socially responsible investment funds promoted by KBC.
* The term 'investment fund' refers to a sub-fund of a sicav or open-ended investment company under Belgian or Luxembourg law, or a mutual fund.
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