Disclamer! Følgende interview er Karim Sayyads egne ord og holdninger og skal derfor ikke sammenkobles med Nordea som virksomhed. Ved tvivl om emnet kontakt da din egen finansielle rådgiver.
So, could you tell us a little bit about yourself… who you are, where you work, and why you chose to work with Sustainable Investments?
My name is Karim Sayyad and I work in Nordea Group Sustainable Finance, the part of the bank that works with integrating sustainability considerations into all of our processes and products, including investments, lending and advice. Nordea, as the largest financial institution in the Nordics, can have a global impact and contribute in the transition to a sustainable future together with our customers and partners. The opportunity to be part of this, and combine finance with sustainability on an everyday basis, is fantastic.
What is the definition for an investment to be categorized as a sustainable investment?
There are many different definitions on what makes an investment sustainable. And there are many different strategies on how to integrate sustainability in investment decision making processes. It also comes down to what you personally believe is sustainable. Good corporate behavior is one thing, and the products or services that a company offers, is another thing. Sometimes these two aspects are in conflict, and can also explain why the perception of the sustainability profile of a particular company differ among analysts.
Why does many big companies, like Nordea, show such a strong believe and interest in Sustainable Investments?
I’d say that it is mainly driven by our customers. The demand for sustainable investments is growing and is becoming mainstream in Europe. I also believe that companies that uphold high standards in terms of sustainability protects shareholder value and have opportunities for growth.
Why is important to increase the level Sustainable Investments going forward?
Global capital markets can be the most powerful tool in combating climate change. However, only 14% of world capital is managed sustainably. This needs to change.
In general – do you consider sustainable investments to have a higher risk than regular/non-screened investments? If so, why?
Over 2,000 empirical studies support the business case for sustainable investments. My belief is that sustainable investments can offer better risk-adjusted returns. But this doesn’t mean that any investment fund or company that is classified as sustainable is better. Much depends on the competence of the investor, and how well he or she is able to analyze the company from both a financial and sustainability perspective. Furthermore, companies that are not so sustainable today, but is on the path of becoming more sustainable, may have a significant upside.
Can I as a private investor be a part of creating an impact on the UN Social Development Goals, CO2 quotas and other suitability guidelines, by investing in sustainable companies and funds?
By investing in sustainable funds, or directly in shares of sustainable firms, you are effectively contributing to achieving a sustainable future. Money needs to flow out from companies that destroy the planet and into companies that will thrive in a low carbon economy. Certainly, investments in stocks through primary markets have a more direct effect but it also matters on the secondary markets. And if you invest in sustainable funds, the fund manager will also actively engage with portfolio companies and apply their influence towards making the companies more sustainable.
How would you recommend private investors to start when researching and looking into opportunities to start allocating their savings in sustainable investments?
If you like to invest in stocks, take a closer look at how the company is contributing to a sustainable future. Are their products creating or solving problems? What sustainability considerations are material for them and how are they managing that? An IT company is not faced with the same type of sustainability-related challenges as an energy company. If you don’t want to research yourself, I suggest investing in funds. And the easiest way to know which funds that are sustainable is to ask your financial advisor, who should be able to present alternatives to you.
How can I ensure/research that the money I invest in sustainable companies actually are creating an impact and a happier planet?
It is true that there is a lot of greenwashing. A sustainability report with a lot of pages is no guarantee that the company is actually walking the talk. On the other hand, these companies often have difficulties in avoiding controversies as they are not that sustainable on the ground. By looking at which incidents the company has been involved in can be useful. Many investment funds are also marketed as sustainable, but are actually not very sustainable. Hopefully this problem will be mitigated with the new EU regulations.
Is your own entire investment portfolio sustainable? If so, what are your favorite investments?
I combine investments in both funds and stocks. The funds I invest in has a sustainability tilt, and the shares I invest in are with companies that I know will benefit in a transition to a low carbon economy. And it is not just about renewable energy – the universe of sustainable companies is much larger than that. It could be anything from a company that enables a more resource-efficient way of constructing buildings to a company that recycles materials used in battery storage solutions. It could also be a regular, boring, but stable consumer goods company that has a large share of eco-labelled products and focus on circularity. Other than that, I think it’s important to be long-term, as with any investment, and diversify.
Det var ordene fra Karim Sayyad. Det var enormt spændende at høre om nogle af de initiativer, som han er frontløber for i Nordea.
Jeg har i hvert fald lært 3 vigtige ting
- Udbuddet af bæredygtige løsninger kommer først efter efterspørgslen – derfor gør det en forskel når man som privat investor spørg sin bank og økonomiske rådgiver om en bæredygtig løsning.
- Det kan være svært at finde ud af hvad der er objektivt bæredygtigt – så brug din sunde fornuft, og invester I, hvad du mener er bæredygtigt.
- Det rent faktisk kan give et godt afkast i forhold til risiko at investere bæredygtigt løsninger, så længe man bare har en lang tidshorisont.
Det var afslutningen på vores bæredygtige investeringer undersøgelser, på nuværende tidspunkt i hvert fald. Hvis du har lært noget, undrer dig over noget, har spørgsmål eller lignende er du i hvert fald mere end velkommen til at skrive en besked til os her på Planet Happy.
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