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What makes a pension plan sustainable?

Sustainability is something people often connect with switching off the lights, biking instead of driving a car, and sorting out waste. But your pension plan can also make a lasting difference for the world.

A positive difference

Your pension plan is invested in many different stocks and bonds – no matter which pension provider, you have. The investments help companies develop and grow, and hence, as a society, our pension savings have a big impact. In Denmark we have some of the world’s largest pensions savings, so where you place your money really matters.

Today, however, all Danish pension funds invest far more in coal, oil and gas than they ought to, if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. And as a pension customer, you can’t do anything about it. 

We want to change that.

Together with our partner Skandia, Matter has created a sustainable pension plan, where your money is invested according to three key principles:
Our principles for investment

Let’s raise the bar for how your money is invested

1.

No more investments in harmful companies

No investments in companies producing fossil fuels, weapons or tobacco.

2.

Higher standards for ethics and responsible business practices

Your money is invested with high concern for human rights and responsible business practices.

3.

More sustainable investments

More of your money is invested in companies producing green energy, new technologies, medicine and health care solutions.

How does Matter and Skandia select sustainable investments?

Together with Skandia we ensure sustainability and responsibility by thoroughly screening the companies your pension is invested in. We have defined a list of criteria based on international UN agreements on areas such as human rights, climate and environment. We actively exclude harmful companies and include companies that base their business on sustainability and responsibility.

In our partnership with Skandia, Matter takes care of screening investments, while Skandia is responsible for managing the assets and pursuing the highest possible return.

There are a lot of things that we in Matter and Skandia together avoid investing in. We will not accept companies that produce weapons, tobacco and fossil fuels, and we screen out companies that do not respect human rights or are known to be involved in corruption. In addition, more of your money will be invested in companies that produce climate and environmentally friendly technologies, medicine and health care solutions. In short, we do our best to ensure that your money is invested in line with the UN Sustainable Development goals.

It is particularly important to us that your money is not invested in the extraction and production of fossil fuels. Today, Danish pension funds over-invest so heavily in oil, coal and gas, that a Dane owns 4-5 times more fossil fuel than what the energy companies can extract and emit, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. This is no news, and even the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned against investments in coal and oil back in 2014.

Unfortunately, many funds and investors today talk about sustainability without taking the challenge seriously. We want you to be the judge of our efforts, and have a look for yourself: On our digital platform, which you find under “My Overview” in the upper right corner, customers can see the difference their money is making, as well which companies their savings are invested in. You can of course also see your savings, insurances, etc., but that is nothing new.

We are picky about where your money goes

We are not perfect!

But we are trying. We strive for sustainability and responsibility by thoroughly screening the companies your pension is invested in. We do so with data on the environmental impact of companies, as well as analyses performed by NGOs and leading responsible investors around the world. Since our analyses depend on the quality of the data we use, a mistake in the data could potentially lead to an unwanted investment finding its way through our filter, and into the fund, your money is invested in.

Data quality is one thing. Another thing is the reality of the financial markets. Skandia needs to ensure that the investment fund meets a series of financial criteria, which requires that your money is invested in hundreds of different companies, and that entails some compromises. Among other things, some of your money will be invested in companies in the financial industry that do not actively promote sustainability, as well as in large technology companies. Also, it is possible that one of the companies your money is invested in merges with another company, so that one of your investments suddenly includes e.g. a fossil fuel reserve. If that happens, we will make sure to let you know, and do everything we can to find an alternative together with Skandia.

Sustainability at low costs

Benefiting you and the world around you

Value for money

At the end of the day, it is a question of balancing the ambition for sustainability, with a concern for your private wealth. Sustainability should be a good business for you and your pension, and that is why Skandia is designing your investment portfolio from existing funds – so called ETF’s. This keeps prices down, which is good for your return on investment.

It is however not that simple to combine a sustainable strategy with ETF-investments. Since one fund contains many stocks (and bonds) it is very common that one or more of these assets is not acceptable according to our standards for sustainability. For that reason, we screen out many funds because we cannot exclude the single company from the fund.

In contrast to many Danish pension funds we REALLY want you to tell us how you think your money should be invested in, and what should be avoided. We can of course not promise that we can accommodate your wishes, but your input helps us next time we evaluate the screening criteria.

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