Sustainability is in our DNA – World Finance

Discover how KBC Asset Management is leading the charge in sustainable investing, integrating ESG principles into its strategies, and pioneering responsible investment solutions for a better future
KBC is an international banking and insurance group with 42,000 employees and 12 million clients across Belgium, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. KBC Asset Management NV (KBC AM) acts as the group’s investment arm, working with 2.8 million retail and institutional investors, developing products for intra-group distribution and providing investment fund sales and advisory support. At the core of our day-to-day motivation lies our motto ‘Everyone invested all the time’ and our mission remains clear: make investing a healthy financial habit for everyone, keep clients feeling comfortable when investing and so keep them invested, and do this in a personalised, though efficient way.
Sustainability is key
It is clear that the world has shifted towards sustainability. This trend can’t be stopped because it is driven by ethical concerns, financial incentives, protecting the environment, and making sure workers are healthy and happy. It has become a crucial focus for businesses and investors across the world.
At KBC Asset Management, we integrated sustainability into our overall corporate strategy. The basic condition for sustainability is financial resilience and vice versa. Only by focusing on long-term sustained financial performance and strict risk management are we able to honour all our commitments.

Our customers also want to contribute in this area. Responsible Investing (RI) is a way of allowing clients to combine their financial goals with their concerns for the environment, society and corporate governance. The impact of global warming is one of the greatest challenges the world faces and will have a significant and lasting impact on economic growth and prosperity. As a large financial institution, we want to play a leading role and be a significant lever in the process of transition to a more sustainable society and a low carbon economy, by working together with all stakeholders.
Since 1992, KBC has adapted its sustainability policies to reflect changing insights. It is also the year we launched the first Responsible Investing fund in Belgium. We regularly bring new solutions to the market and our methodology has become increasingly stringent. KBC Asset Management was also the first financial institution in Belgium to have its own Responsible Investing research unit.

Fully in line with our sustainability strategy, all Responsible Investing funds have been fossil fuel-free since November 2017. And in May 2018 KBC launched Pricos SRI, the first SRI pension savings fund on the Belgian market. In 2019, all our Responsible Investing funds in Belgium obtained the ‘Towards Sustainability’ label, an initiative of Febelfin (the Belgian Financial Sector Federation).
Remaining on top of things
We are, and remain, a pioneer regarding Responsible Investing. That said, it is a strategic choice to keep on top of the developments in our industry. That includes being future proof in a lot of areas: up-to-date methodology, investment solutions that take the current sustainable challenges into account and providing state-of-the-art reporting. In fact we recently updated our Responsible Investing methodology with a much bigger role for biodiversity due to the impact of global warming. A new biodiversity policy is being added whereby companies with serious controversies over land use and biodiversity will now be excluded, as well as companies with activities that have a negative impact on biodiversity and that do not take sufficient measures to reduce their impact.
Keep evolving
The world of Responsible Investing is evolving rapidly. Not only are our clients’ expectations changing, the regulator has also published clarifications on the various legislative initiatives and the quality standard of the Towards Sustainability label has also been tightened. This is why KBC Asset Management screens its Responsible Investment methodology annually to comply with the most recent developments.
Responsible Investing stands or falls by its credibility. Therefore the sustainability policy and criteria are monitored by the Responsible Investing Advisory Board, which is fully independent of KBC. The body consists of leading academics from several universities, who are experts in fields like human rights, business ethics, biology and ecology. We give our clients a transparent view of their investments.
For example, a Responsible Investing dashboard was set up in the clients’ mobile application, where they can track the goals of their Responsible Investing funds. This report is accessible to every investor. We want to be the reference and stay one step ahead of the competition. KBC Asset Management will continue to move alongside the markets and the preferences of its clients to keep its services up to date. We will continue to work towards a sustainable and responsible future, that keeps everyone invested, all of the time.