ASR Nederland N.V. wants, as insurer, investor and employer, to play a leading role in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the financial sector.
Our mission is to provide people with security in uncertain situations. We do that by providing people financial continuity and enabling them to take well-considered risks in achieving their ambitions. In that, insurance is essential and insuring our reason for existence. For a.s.r., valuable service starts by understanding what people value. We believe that customers should be able to insure themselves in ways best fitting their situation, preferences and possibilities. a.s.r. stands for helping customers and wants to be a useful insurer, that is a welcome part of the community. Intelligibility and simplicity combined with efficient operations and a solid financial position are essential. Customers should be convinced that their risks are covered by an insurer with austere operations and that avoids wastage. That listens to them, thinks along with them, and can be reached via several forms of communication.
a.s.r. is going back to basics and redefining insuring. Our predecessors put insurance in the Netherlands as a service on the map. That history goes back to 1720, with as foundation the sharing risks. That is exactly how it should be today. Taking society and the environment into account is front and center in our vision. The a.s.r. core values, personal, approachable and accountable and true to who we are, play a crucial role.
We are convinced that our existence is justified by keeping customer interests and customer experiences in mind. Our products should fit this mindset.
Our Socially Responsible Investments Policy
ASR Nederland's responsible investment policy focuses on positive selection for best practices and best products based on ESG-criteria. This means that ASR Nederland favours companies that perform well within their sector or contribute towards sustainable development (eg. waste processing, recycling and clean energy). a.s.r. also maintains an exclusion list based on multiple criteria and practices engagement/ SRI dialogue with a number of companies in which it has investment positions.
Since 2011 a.s.r. has also signed the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI), the United Nations Global Compact (UN GC) and the industry-wide Sustainable Investments Code, from the Dutch Association of Insurers. In 2013, a.s.r. signed the UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurers. In 2014, a.s.r. signed the UN Call for Action against corruption. In 2015, a.s.r. signed the Paris Pledge for Action to support the commitment to limit temparature rise to 1,5- 2 degrees Celsius. In 2018 a.s.r. contributed actively to the new sector Covenant for Sustainable Responsible Investments based on the OECD guidelines and the UN GP Guidelines.
Climate has been identified as a key theme within a.s.r. investment portfolio since 2016. In 2018, a.s.r. was one of the initiators of the Spitsbergen Ambition; emphazising its role as financial institution in contribution to achieving the Paris climate commitments, contributed actively to the Nederlands Klimaatakkoord section of the financial sector and took part in the pilot project of Ortec to incorporate climate scenarios in our Strategic Asset Allocation.
In order to expand and enhance its engagement activities, a.s.r. has embarked on a partnership with RobecoSAM's Governance & Active Ownership department with effect from 2016. The engagement program is based on remediating conflicts with the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in relation to human rights, labour rights, environment issues and ethical behaviour.
a.s.r. signed the investor statement of the Business Benchmark Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) to contribute to creating greater awareness of animal welfare across the food sector and among investors.
a.s.r. continuously seeks to advance its SRI policy. In 2016, added companies deriving 30% or more of their revenues related to coal and lignite to its exclusion policy. In 2017, these means were followed up with additional criteria to reduce the CO2 footprint and contribute positively to the energy transition within a.s.r. investment portfolios such as exclusion policy for companies deriving 33% or more of their revenues related to tar sands and oil shale.
The best in class policy according to the SDG country Index published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung makes sure the weighted average score of a.s.r. sovereign portfolio will be positioned within the first quartile of the SDG Index. Herewith a.s.r. wants to prize countries developing policies and progressing in broadly recognised sustainability issues next to climate/environment such as health, gender equality or education.
Over the years, a.s.r. has strengthened a number of its SRI themes by signing the UN PRI Investor Statements on a.o. the World No Tobacco Day, remediation of child labour in the cocoa industry and deforestation in the cattle supply chains. In 2018 a.s.r. signed the UN PRI Investor Statement on the Tobacco Pledge, the PRI Investor Agenda and the Investor letter to RSPO.
In 2018 a.s.r. actively expanded its engagement practices on both environmental and social topics. Besides the engagement for influencing based on UN Global Compact violations, a.s.r. has started specific engagement trajectories on living wages in the supply chain within the Platform Living Wages Financials (PLWF), on methane emissions and fur.
In 2019 a.s.r. lowered its exclusion thresholds for coal and lignite from 30% to 20%, and for tar sands and oil shale from 33% to 20%, while adding a 50% threshold for coal-fired electricity generation.
The SRI policy for countries with poor environmental performance has been reviewed. The decision has been made to use the SDG Index underlying data to determine environmental performance.
a.s.r. takes ownership as an active shareholder in its associates and exercises its voting rights with due care in accordance with the a.s.r. Voting Policy, which is aligned to the a.s.r. SRI policy.
The SRI policy is fully applicable to ASR Nederland N.V. and all its subsidiaries (ASR Levensverzekering N.V., ASR Schadeverzekeringen N.V., N.V. Amersfoortse Verzekeringen, Europeesche Verzekeringen N.V. and ASR Vermogensbeheer B.V.).