abrdn strengthens sustainability offering with new ‘Sustainability Group’ and appointments

abrdn strengthens sustainability offering with new ‘Sustainability Group’ and appointments

Amanda Young

abrdn has announced an evolution to its Sustainable Investing approach with the creation of a new ‘Sustainability Group’.

This includes the appointment of Amanda Young to the executive role as chief sustainability officer to lead the group and the sustainability strategy for abrdn’s investments vector.

The newly formed Sustainability Group will provide subject matter expertise to abrdn’s investment processes and support its sustainable investing value chain through generating insights; setting frameworks and standards, ensuring active ownership and supporting product design and commerciality and client reporting and outcomes.

Previously global head of responsible investment, Ms Young’s new role will see her sit on abrdn’s Investment Vector Executive for investments to ensure that sustainability remains core to its work, meeting clients’ needs and regulatory requirements. She will report to abrdn’s CEOs for investments, Chris Demetriou (UK, EMEA & Americas) and Rene Buehlmann (APAC).

To support her role, Ms Young has made a number of key leadership appointments to the Sustainability Group, effective from 1st April:

  • Danielle Welsh-Rose, head of sustainability APAC and head of sustainability specialists
  • Mike Everett, head of active ownership
  • Eva Cairns - head of sustainability insights and climate strategy
  • Dan Grandage - head of sustainable investing

Amanda Young, chief sustainability officer, abrdn, said: “As client expectations continue to focus increasingly on material ESG matters, we must continue to evolve as an active asset manager to provide solutions which meet these expectations. As part of our on-going commitment to achieve this, and to invest sustainably, we have created the Sustainability Group which is a central component to our investment process.

“The Sustainability Group will continue to coordinate and set the abrdn house view and standards on sustainability matters including climate change, corporate governance, voting and active ownership to support the investment teams in delivering a coherent ESG integration and engagement strategy. More broadly, our strong leadership team will help drive abrdn’s Sustainable Investment approach forward, working to influence external bodies on governance, sustainability, engagement and regulatory matters.”

abrdn’s SICAV product range is also part of its Sustainable Investing evolution as it announces 24 SICAV funds converting to Article 8 in April under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). This includes 18 Equity funds, and 6 Fixed Income funds. These fund conversions more than double abrdn’s current responsible investing-related SICAV AUM, taking it to approximately €16 billion. This is the first phase of several planned conversions that will take place throughout 2022.

The conversions further enhance abrdn’s established Sustainable Investment process which is already positively tilted towards ESG including climate targets and stringent exclusion criteria. The updated framework includes formally widening the screening process and removing poorly rated ESG companies from the investment universe. Each fund will also include specific ESG targets and lower carbon intensity than its benchmark.

abrdn met the SFDR level 1 requirements in March 2021 when it introduced procedures to classify each of its fund products and mandates as Articles 6, 8 or 9; as well as entity and product level sustainability risk disclosures and pre-contractual documentation updates.

Devan Kaloo, global head of public markets, abrdn, added: “At abrdn we integrate ESG considerations into every stage of our investment process, working closely with our companies, clients and regulators to help shape the world around us. Client demand for Sustainable Investment products is evolving rapidly and the EU SFDR classification that came into force last year helps the industry deliver greater transparency to investors, enabling them to make better informed investment decisions on where to allocate their capital and help drive positive change for people and our planet.”

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