Episode #3: Sustainable Investment Means Less Exclusion, More Engagement

In this new episode, host Joachim Nahem talks with Alexandra Morris, Investment Director at SKAGEN Funds.

In this episode

Alexandra shares her insights on the ESG cultural (re)evolution for fund managers and whether sustainability actually means anything for the bottom line of companies. This episode gives you further answers to: Where has the finance industry come up short in ESG integration? Is engaging rather than excluding companies the key to creating actual impact from an investor perspective? Get fresh takes on why ESG training is crucial for portfolio managers and how Alexandra has spearheaded an industry initiative to increase female leadership within finance.

About SKAGEN Funds

SKAGEN Funds is a Norwegian fund management company and global investor with a long and successful history of managing equity and fixed income funds. They currently have around EUR 6.6 billion under management and have incorporated ESG into their investment process since 2002. SKAGEN’s objective is to provide the best possible risk-adjusted returns, communication and service.

Alexandra Morris is Investment Director at SKAGEN and has overall responsibility for the portfolio team and the investments in SKAGEN’s funds. She is responsible for ensuring that SKAGEN’s value-based investment philosophy is adhered to. Alexandra actively promotes the finance industry as an attractive career for women through multiple channels as Leader of KIFF Women in Front-end Finance, speaking engagements and op-eds.

Some questions include:

What has been the most significant development in the finance industry when it comes to what we today call ESG?

”ESG has become an integral part of the investment process because if you don’t consider the minority interest of the shareholders or your employees’ well-being and you don’t respect the environment, then you get the opposite of competitive edge and you will fall behind.”

How has your job as Investment Director changed as a result of the growing importance of ESG integration in fund management?

“An important aspect of my role is to ensure that the portfolio managers have the ESG knowledge, tools and support on the one hand, but maybe even more important, have the culture and the values to aim for good integration of ESG analysis into their fundamental company analysis.”

We are experiencing what can be considered an ESG backlash, with accusations of greenwashing and ESG political debate in the US. How do you navigate this messy space and stay true to your ESG ambitions?

“There is a fine line between engaging in matters of political discourse and being political. We engage in the topics that concern society because they matter – for our business model and for the returns. We invest in what we believe will generate value for our clients. That is our fiduciary duty.”

About Sustainable Edge

The Sustainable Edge podcast series delves into the challenges and opportunities for achieving a net-zero economy and the UN SDGs by 2030. Hosted by Position Green’s Executive Chairman, Joachim Nahem, the series explores sustainability issues that are top of mind among business leaders, investors, and policymakers, and how to drive value creation and increase competitiveness by turning ESG data insights into targeted action.

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