Abrdn has converted three equity funds to be compliant with Article 8 of the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, including its flagship Asia-Pacific Equity Fund, which has been renamed as the Asia-Pacific Sustainable Equity Fund and has US$2 billion of assets under management, making it one of the largest funds in the market.
The asset manager’s North American Smaller Companies and Global Innovation Equity strategies are also due to convert to Article 8 from August 1. The three funds follow the 24 Sicav equity and fixed-income funds that also did so in April of this year.
The conversion enhances the company’s established sustainable investment process, which includes climate targets and stringent exclusion criteria.
The updated framework includes formally widening the screening process and removing companies that have poor environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings from the investment universe. Each fund will also include specific ESG targets and lower carbon intensity than its benchmark.
“Sustainability and climate are dominating Asia-Pacific’s investment landscape,” says Flavia Cheong, head of equities for Asia-Pacific, at abrdn. “Asian companies, with their technological edge amid a supportive political and economic backdrop, will be integral in steering the global agenda for change.
“Although the opacity of data around ESG in Asia has been challenging, there’s a growing appreciation among corporates of the value that ESG policies can bring, especially in China. This is evident by the positive changes we see at some quality companies: standards are evolving, disclosure is getting better, and regulations around social and environmental behaviour are much better.”