BCI and partners establish responsible investing platform

The British Columbia Investment Management Corp., the AustralianSuper and two Dutch pension funds — APG and PGGM — are jointly establishing a responsible investing platform.

The sustainable development investments asset owner platform, which will be available through distribution partner Qontigo, features standard and artificial intelligence-driven data that enables investors to assess companies on their contribution to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

The platform provides a common definition, taxonomy and data source for investments into the UN’s sustainable development goals. To date, it generates sustainable development investments classifications for 8,000 companies, enabling investors to assess their global capital markets’ portfolios on their contribution to the UN’s goals and to report to their clients and external stakeholders transparently and consistently, using a common standard, according to a press release.

Read: How companies are stacking up on U.N.’s sustainable development goals

The participating pension funds have set ambitious targets for investing in the UN’s sustainable development goals, with both the AustralianSuper and the BCI joining the platform.

“Standardization of data is one of the biggest challenges facing the environmental, social and governance landscape,” said Jennifer Coulson, vice-president of ESG at the BCI, in a press release. “For this reason, we are excited to be part of this asset-owner led initiative which sets a global standard on SDG contributions for all investors and brings consistency and comparability to company-level data. This is the type of quality data that BCI relies on when making investment decisions that are required to generate value-added returns for our clients.”

Claudia Kruse, managing director of responsible investment and governance at the APG, noted the platform’s launch with three other global pension funds shows the APG’s commitment to contributing to the UN’s sustainable development goals. “SDGs and AI-based technology are at the forefront of innovation. This investment is part of our commitment to our clients on whose behalf we invest in order to provide affordable pension in a sustainable world.”

Read: Global investors call for government action on climate change

Andrew Gray, director of ESG and stewardship at the AustralianSuper, noted the platform will progress how the pension fund assesses and engages with investee companies on their contribution, measurement and reporting of the UN’s goals. “This will promote real world sustainable outcomes which are vital for creating long-term value for beneficiaries.”

The platform will host a virtual event in September to provide interested investors with additional insight into how it works.