BlackRock – one of the world’s largest assets managers – has subscribed to the SDI Asset Owner Platform (SDI AOP) dataset. APG is co-founder of the Platform, which assesses companies based on their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The commitment of a global player like BlackRock reflects the growing focus among investors on aligning their portfolios with the SDGs.
This step by BlackRock to subscribe to the dataset represents a major expansion of the SDI AOP’s user base in asset terms. Combined assets under management to which the data is applied now exceed US$ 10 trillion. The Platform’s SDI standard and dataset help investors imbed the SDGs into their investment processes and stewardship activities. It also enables them to report to clients and external stakeholders transparently and consistently.
Claudia Kruse, Chair of the SDI AOP says: “We are delighted that BlackRock has chosen the SDI standard and joined the SDI AOP community, which now represents over US$10 trillion. Together with the other SDI AOP members we will continue to advance the scope of the SDI standard and its applications.”
The SDGs were set by the United Nations in 2015 and aim for a better and sustainable world by addressing a broad range of global issues ranging from climate change to access to healthcare. Investments in companies whose products or services contribute to the realization of the SDGs are called Sustainable Development Investments (SDIs). APG’s largest asset management clients – pension funds ABP and bpfBOUW – have set ambitious SDI targets for 2025. ABP aims to invest 20% of its pension assets in SDIs by 2025 and bpfBOUW targets 25%.
APG co-founded the SDI AOP together with PGGM, AustralianSuper and British Columbia Management Corporation (BCI) in 2020. The Platform provides a common taxonomy and dataset for investments that contribute to the SDGs. Powered by artificial intelligence technology, data science partner Entis has generated SDI classifications for some 8,700 companies to date. The taxonomy and methodology are maintained by the SDI AOP Design Authority, which consists of the four investors which launched the Platform. Qontigo is the standard’s global distributor.
In 2021, APG together with BlackRock and index provider Qontigo launched the iSTOXX APG World Responsible Investment Indices. This initiative taps into the growing demand for customized, sustainable index products. The indices follow multiple sustainability objectives, including SDIs. These are combined in a step-by-step approach that introduces one sustainability element at a time in order to achieve a final balanced portfolio that invests using all the criteria.
Future research agenda
The SDI AOP is working with its growing community of asset owners to increase the platform’s value by continuously refining and extending its product in various dimensions: wider company coverage, product refinements in specific sectors and the addition of negative impact metrics, forward-looking metrics (such as patents) and outcome-oriented metrics.