Environmental and social responsibility and good governance are evolving concepts open to interpretation. From VER’s point of view, the key points are as follows:
Environmental responsibility involves a number of elements. Traditionally, environmental responsibility is understood in terms of protecting the immediate environment from pollution and decay. More recently, the focus has shifted to issues related to climate change and, in particular, the carbon footprint. Over the past few years, measurement of the carbon footprint and awareness, reporting and efforts to reduce it have been adopted as a standard by pension funds, something that VER also needs to do.
Social responsibility implies a specific obligation to respect and comply with international conventions. For VER, this means the UN Global Compact principles and related international regulations concerning human rights, rights at work, environment and anti-corruption. Additionally, VER seeks to refrain from investing in industries that may involve questionable aspects in terms of social responsibility, such as arms, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult entertainment.
Governance calls for transparency and a rational and sustainable organisation of activities. For companies that VER invests in, this means, amongst others, compliance with sound corporate governance principles and respect for the rule of law, not only in environmental and social issues, but also in financial contexts such as corporate law, competition law and taxation. VER does not approve of illegal activities. Even activities that are technically within the law may be at variance with the requirements imposed by VER for good governance, if the activities clearly conflict with the spirit of the relevant regulations, for example in the field of corporate law or taxation.
 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Labour Organisation’s Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, The Rio Declaration of Environment and Development and The United Nations Convention Against Corruption.