Aberdeen Standard Investments Establishes abrdn Sustainability Institute in Asia Pacific

by | Jul 29, 2021 | IN THE MEDIA

Deepens its Commitment to Driving Sustainability across the Region

Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) today announces its strategy to deepen its long-standing sustainability commitment in Asia Pacific, with the establishment of a new abrdn Sustainability Institute (Sustainability Institute) in the region. As a global pioneer in sustainable investing, this initiative reinforces the company’s mission to enable its clients to be better investors, by driving sustainable investing and supporting the buildout of a resilient Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ecosystem in Asia Pacific.

ASI has almost 30 years’ track record of ESG integration. It has had sustainability resources located in Asia since 2007, currently with five dedicated ESG experts based in Singapore and Australia. The team has extensive experience in active engagement with companies and policymakers to promote ESG best practices, conducting ESG research and manufacturing ESG-embedded Asian investment strategies for its clients globally. The Sustainability Institute will further strengthen its existing regional ESG infrastructure.

As sustainable investing is gaining momentum in the region, ASI is committed to facilitating the industry’s development and directing clients’ money towards sustainable solutions. The Sustainability Institute will continue ASI’s work to proactively engage with policymakers to help shape the region’s ESG regulatory framework, support asset owners’ journey towards Net Zero, integrate ESG considerations in all investments and undertake active ownership activities. It will also develop more best-practice sustainability training and education for investors and distributors, deliver deeper Asia-centric ESG insights and utilise APAC-based resources to build a wider array of innovative sustainable investment solutions for its clients.

The Sustainability Institute will be a fully integrated sustainability innovation hub that brings together experienced ESG experts from its Asia Pacific business to drive sustainability outcomes for investors. It will comprise ESG investment professionals across asset classes and sustainability specialists from various business functions, including regulation, product development, distribution and corporate sustainability. ASI will continue to add ESG-dedicated headcounts as part of its strategy to deepen its APAC sustainability capabilities.

The Sustainability Institute will be led by Danielle Welsh-Rose, ESG Investment Director – Asia Pacific. It will be advised by a Sustainable Investment Advisory Board, chaired by its Asia Pacific CEO René Buehlmann. With one of the largest pool of ESG talents in the industry, it will also draw on the global experience of more than 30 on-desk ESG investment experts and its 20-strong Central ESG function.

René Buehlmann, Chief Executive Officer – Asia Pacific at abrdn, commented:

“Asia is still far behind the rest of the world in deploying sustainable investment strategies, but is moving fast to catch up with client demand. Capitalising on our deep global and Asian ESG expertise, there is an opportunity for us to drive positive changes in the industry. Active engagement with companies, policymakers, industry partners and clients on ESG matters will be key to help build an impactful sustainable investing infrastructure in the region.”

Sustainable investing is a strategic priority for ASI. It aims to introduce a series of new sustainable and climate-focused strategies to Asian investors in the coming months. The Sustainability Institute will also work with its clients to customise sustainable solutions, enabling them to play their part in supporting the global transition to a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable low-carbon economy, whilst achieving net-zero goals.

ASI is one of the first asset managers in Asia Pacific to have fully integrated ESG considerations into its investments across all asset classes. As an active investor, over the years its Asian equity team has actively engaged with investee companies to drive better ESG standards and sustainable changes. Its partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank aims to build an ESG ecosystem in emerging Asia – its Asian fixed income team has been at the forefront of leading direct issuer engagements to drive positive outcomes and enable capacity-building in the Asian credit markets to help attract ESG investments to the region.

In the private markets, ASI is a pioneer in Australia’s green infrastructure investments, having been a leading co-investor in some of the country’s first public-private partnerships for green and social financing projects that were worth over AU$3 billion.

In addition, ASI’s proprietary climate scenario analysis complements its investment team’s macro, sector and company research, providing a rigorous framework for managing climate-related financial risks and opportunities. This helps inform the fund managers’ engagement with companies on climate transition strategies, in order to build more resilient portfolios and improve long-term returns.