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Storebrand makes CSR ‘integral part’ of its values

July 2003

Storebrand has developed a two-year action plan on corporate social responsibility.

The Norwegian insurance and investment company, which manages NKr140billion (£12bn) in assets, has previously concentrated on creating a socially responsible approach to investment, with 40 per cent of its equity holdings now subject to SRI criteria. The new action plan is the first attempt to develop a wider corporate strategy.

Storebrand will ‘promote CSR as an integral part of the group’s fundamental values’ with a focus on employees, customers, shareholders and suppliers. CSR will be included as a topic in all management development and staff training courses, and the company has a target of making 70 per cent of staff aware of its programme by 2004.

It is also ensuring suppliers have ‘appropriate’ policies before signing new purchasing agreements and will review existing agreements.

The plan follows a survey carried out in December 2002 which found that 96 per cent of staff felt the business should set an example on CSR for others to follow. At a conference held in autumn 2002, stakeholders had offered ideas on how Storebrand might do this.

Among other things, the plan says Storebrand will include non-financial information when reporting to financial markets.

Although short on detail, the document puts Storebrand at the forefront of investment management companies developing strategies in this area. Other companies in the sector, notably Aegon, are looking at how to improve CSR practice, but most are still at an early stage.

However, investment management companies with SRI products may soon be more likely to develop CSR policies.

The European Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum, a network for promoting and developing SRI, is formulating transparency guidelines for SRI investment managers (EP4, issue 11, p12). One of the basic details to be disclosed under the voluntary guidelines in their present form is, ‘What CSR practices does the parent company employ?’




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