Responsible Investment (RI) is the integration of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment processes and ownership practices, in the - increasingly documented - conviction that these may impact both risks and returns. The identification, understanding and management of ESG issues requires an expertise that has been developed relatively recently.
It is in this context that the Group created a Responsible Investment Committee (RIC), presided by the Group Chief Investment Officer. The RIC's mandate is to develop a global approach to responsible investment issues which takes into account both controversial sectors on a reputation standpoint - such as the challenge posed by controversial weapons -, and the more positive inclusion of ESG issues in investments processes, from a performance and risk management perspective.
Among other initiatives, the RIC developed the Group's first comprehensive RI policy. This RI Policy, which covers the Group's €500bn+ general accounts, sets out our position and beliefs on RI, and defines the corporate governance practices that our asset managers are expected to encourage, including via engagement and voting. The Policy also allows for a better structured development of investment guidelines for sectors that pose particularly acute environmental or ethical challenges, for which guidelines will be progressively defined. Finally, the RI Policy initiates the Group's "Impact Investment" project.
Impact Investments aim to allocate capital to investment strategies whose goal is to focus on assets that address key sustainability concerns such as renewable energy, poverty, health or risk prevention.
AXA has also decided to join the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. The UN PRI is a major collective initiative that seeks to promote responsible investment among investors and asset managers (both AXA Investment Managers and AllianceBernstein are UN PRI members).