FTSE Russell confirmed at the end of January 2020 that Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) was independently assessed according to the FTSE4Good criteria and fulfilled the requirements to become a constituent of the FTSE4Good index series. VIG shares were included in this index for the first time in mid-2007 and have been listed without interruption since then.
The FTSE4Good was established by the global index provider FTSE Russell to measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong Environmental, Social and Governance practices (ESG). Many market participants use the FTSE4Good indices to create and assess responsible investment funds and other products. “As a listed company, following a long-term sustainability strategy forms an important basis for evaluation that is becoming increasingly significant. Being continuously represented in the FTSE4Good index, one of the largest and most significant sustainability indices worldwide, is very valuable to us. We are consciously intensifying our ESG activities”, explained Elisabeth Stadler, CEO of Vienna Insurance Group.
In the environmental area, for example, the climate change strategy that VIG published in the previous year includes a gradual withdrawal from coal sector investments and an immediate halt to new insurance contracts for coal plants and coal mines. VIG also resolved to increase the share of environmentally friendly investments in 2019. “We invested more than EUR 154 million in green bonds in 2019, more than doubling the amount compared to the previous year. This allows us to provide targeted support for projects like wind parks”, stated Stadler. Social housing and support in this area continuous to be important for VIG's investment strategy. Stadler: “We have an indirect stake in more than 100,000 residential units and support access to affordable housing. Due to the steady increase in housing prices, we feel this is a key concern of people.” With respect to governance criteria, VIG greatly expanded its compliance in the previous year and extensively revised its Code of Business Ethics, which is now based on 15 principles, ranging from compliance, to diversity and environmental protection, data protection, fair competition, avoiding corruption, and the protection of human rights.
The FTSE4Good is aimed at investment banks, fund managers, asset managers, stock exchanges, stock traders and advisors that make their investments based on ethical factors. Ratings are provided in five categories based on specified criteria, using indicators. The categories are: Environmental management, climate change, human and labour rights, labour standards and fighting corruption.