Committed to sustainable ESG investing
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are becoming increasingly important for all of us – and at deVere they are a major priority. At the beginning of 2020, we were amongst the very first to identify ESG investing as this decade’s ultimate investment megatrend. We knew it would cut across all sectors, but we couldn’t predict just how much and how quickly it would develop. When the pandemic hit, the world changed forever, accelerating global trends with a momentum that no one had witnessed before -including ESG. We’re 100% committed and ready to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead. We’d like to take you with us too on, what we believe, is an essential ESG journey.
What is ESG?
The umbrella term covers three main factors. E is for the environment and includes issues such as climate change policies, carbon footprint, water usage and use of renewable energies. S is for social and includes workers’ rights and protections, client satisfaction and workplace health and safety. G is for governance and includes diversity of the board, corporate transparency, compensation practices and internal control processes.
Why are ESG values important?
Climate change – and the major, far-reaching fallout of it for economies and communities around the world – is the greatest risk multiplier. There’s no question that it is the defining issue of our time. In the 2020 annual risk report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the top five risks in terms of probability were environmental, and the top four of five risks in terms of impact were both social and environmental in nature. Our climate is changing at a quicker rate than previously predicted. From more frequent and extreme storms to unprecedented heatwaves and flooding, from more and more species dying out to rising sea levels and increasing desertification, we’re already noticing the impacts of human-created global warming. But we still have time to change course and limit the impact of the worst effects of the rapidly changing climate.
deVere’s ongoing ESG commitments
We are aware that with our size and capabilities comes an obligation to act responsibly. To this end, we continually aim to protect the environment, support social progress, ensure diversity and equality, and make ethically-driven, well-governed decisions.
deVere is one of 18 founding signatories of the UN-backed Net Zero initiative, the international alliance of powerhouse global finance companies that will help accelerate the transition to a net zero financial system. Our membership means we are committed to aligning all relevant products and services to achieve net zero greenhouse gases by 2050 and to set meaningful interim targets for 2025. These commitments are in addition to the members setting Science Based Targets to reduce operational emissions in line with limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Of the global alliance, deVere Group CEO and founder Nigel Green comments: “This represents a critical step forward in the transition towards a net zero economy by major financial companies committing to using their resources and best endeavours to achieve their own targets. We’re proud to be working with a group of internationally recognised standard-setting organisations and play a pivotal part in an alliance that will make a real, measurable impact.” Other founding signatories include BDO, Bloomberg, Campbell Lutyens, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, KPMG, The London Stock Exchange Group, Minerva Analytics, Moody’s, Morningstar, MSCI, PwC, SGX, Solactive, S&P Global and SSE.
We have our own paperless, digital-only challenger bank, deVere Vault. This means considerably less waste, less deforestation, and less carbon produced for clients and for employees.
We offer free, independent guidance to clients on socially responsible investing, with the aim of positioning $1bn in environmental, social and governance investments within five years. When speaking with clients regarding ESG investing, we are keen to avoid ‘greenwashing’. With this in mind, there are various factors that we should consider. These include the core values of the fund and in-fund reporting, the fund’s voting policies and track record and whether you are allowed to challenge them, whether the research is in-house or third-party, and whether they are signatories of the United Nations’ Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI). All of this should be presented up front and be transparent for our clients.
We are developing and bringing to market our own qualified sustainable investment products. While ESG highlights values, it’s also about returns, with environmentally and socially responsible funds continuing to out-perform the market and offer lower volatility.
We regularly produce and publish ESG-related surveys to help plot trends and to help guide the industry and the public in this area.
The judicious employment of technologies – we have cut all staff travel around the world by around 75% since March 2020.
With technologies and the ongoing digitalisation of our systems, including the vast majority of internal and external documents, we are moving towards becoming completely paperless in the next 2-3 years.
We have recycling systems in place in all offices and are installing green walls, where it is possible to do so.
We have ESG training programmes for all employees.