ASI sets up Apac sustainability institute

The fund manager hopes that the abrdn Sustainability Institute will expand its ESG products and services in the region.

Danielle Welsh-Rose, Aberdeen Standard Investments

The institute will be the focus of Aberdeen Standard Investment’s (ASI) efforts to engage with policymakers to help shape the region’s ESG regulatory framework, support asset owners’ target towards net zero, integrate ESG considerations in all investments and undertake active ownership activities.

“Asia is still far behind the rest of the world in deploying sustainable investment strategies but is moving fast to catch up with client demand,” René Buehlmann, chief executive officer of Asia Pacific at ASI, said in a statement.

The institute will also develop more best-practice sustainability training and education for investors and distributors, deliver deeper Asia-centric ESG insights and use Apac-based resources to build a wider array of innovative sustainable investment services and products for ASI’s clients.

It will be led by Australia-based Danielle Welsh-Rose, ESG investment director of Asia Pacific. It will be advised by a Sustainable Investment Advisory Board, chaired by Buehlmann, and also draw on the experience of 30 ESG investment specialists.

Expanding presence

ASI already has five ESG professionals currently located in the region, and has had “sustainability resources” in Asia since 2007, according to the statement.

The institute extends the work and further embeds sustainability throughout the business, using a fully integrated model, Welsh-Rose said.

“We will deliver deeper Asia-centric ESG insights and utilise Apac-based resources to build a wider array of innovative sustainable investment solutions for our clients – we aim to introduce a series of new sustainable, climate-focused and impact strategies to Asian investors in the coming year,” she added.

ASI has fully integrated ESG factors into its investments across all asset classes, and its Asian equity and fixed income teams communicates with investee companies to drive better ESG standards and sustainable changes. It is also in a partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to help build an ESG ecosystem in emerging Asia.

The fund manager will continue to add ESG-dedicated headcounts as part of its strategy to deepen its Apac sustainability capabilities, said the statement.