Sustainability Policies

Since establishment, IWC has worked towards securing the sustainability of its clients’ investments.

As investment manager and advisor for institutional investors, the IWC Group has a duty to act in the best long-term interest of its clients. We believe that environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios (to varying degrees over time, across companies, sectors, regions, and asset classes). Moreover, we recognize that applying these Responsible Investment Principles may better align investors with the broader objectives of society. Therefore, the IWC Group seeks to carry out all investments in a manner that is socially responsible and environmentally sound, based on a strong ESG Policy Plan, including:

SRI guidelines

A set of socially responsible investing guidelines applied as part of a comprehensive due diligence process before investment is pursued and on an ongoing basis at a post-investment stage. The SRI guidelines are developed using the IFC Performance Standards, Equator Principles, and UN PRI for responsible investments.

Code of Conduct

IWC’s Code of Conduct covers issues ranging from corruption, facilitation payments, child labor, and working conditions to the protection of money and other improper business methods, all of which demonstrate the principals guiding IWC’s work and our expectations of counter-parties. Underlying legal instruments and principles include OECD’s Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the UN Convention against Corruption (both ratified by Denmark).

Certification policy

IWC strives towards attaining the most appropriate, recognized third-party forest certification for all forest investments and forestry activities under advice or management by IWC (FSC, PEFC, and other schemes similar to those standards). This serves as a risk management tool and improves both transparency and market access, while also providing higher exit value opportunities.

For more information on our ESG approach and its results, please refer to IWC’s 2017 ESG Report.

Commitments

IWC is a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), participates in the stakeholder consultation forum of the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and the Danish Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investment (DanSIF).

The majority of assets under management or advice are certified or in the process of becoming so. IWC works towards achieving the most appropriate, recognized third-party forest certification for all forest investments (FSC, PEFC, or another equivalent) and forestry activities under advice or management by IWC.

As to agriculture, IWC bases its SRI guidelines on the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in Farmland, Land Acquisition, and Involuntary Resettlement, developed by large institutional investors. Here, IWC recommends that particular attention be paid to the principles regarding existing land and resource rights.

Climate Change

Sustainably managed forests provide essential goods and services and are therefore crucial for the balance of nature. Apart from economic and livelihoods services (timber for production of goods, household appliances, and fuel), they also provide ecosystem services (clean air and water, conservation, and biodiversity preservation, mitigation of climate change, carbon sequestration, and stocks conservation, heat waves as well as floods prevention), which are vital for our existence. The carbon stored in the world’s forests is estimated at 296 million Gt – equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 861,563 coal-fired plants.

Over 1 billion hectares of forest function as soil and water protectors, while 1.6 billion hectares (1.5 times the size of continental Europe) serve as ecosystems services, cultural or spiritual value providers. The world has already lost 129 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2015 (FAO, 2015), particularly in South America and Africa. Nevertheless, thanks to international collaboration and a developed management of the forest, over the last 25 years, the rate of net forest loss has been cut by over 50%. Today, 438 million out of 4 billion hectares of forest (or 11%) are managed under some certification scheme, compared to 14 million hectares back in 2000.

Agriculture, on the other hand, is highly dependent on climatic conditions and is thus directly impacted by climate change, while at the same time contributing to it through the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, thanks to certain technical practices, agriculture can also play an important part in climate change mitigation and ultimately help reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses. Between 1990 and 2010, such measures led to a 44 million tons decrease in CO2 emissions in the OECD countries as well as to an increase in productivity and sequestration of carbon dioxide, while maintaining food production.

There is no doubt that both agriculture and timberland are going to play a major role in securing a sustainable future, why these also appear as key characters in the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.