Socially Responsible Investment Policy

Context

In 2008, SSQ Insurance became the first Canadian insurance company to be signatory of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investments (PRI) for its general investment fund portfolios. As signatory, SSQ Insurance is committed to adopting and implementing the principles for responsible investments as part of its fiduciary responsibilities. Furthermore, in order to respect environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors, SSQ Insurance adopted a responsible investing policy that applies to all internally managed investments.

Principles

When it comes to selecting securities in the corporate bond portfolio, SSQ Insurance gives preference to:

  • Corporate issuers that are transparent about ESG issues
  • Corporate issuers that seize opportunities related to ESG matters to diversify
  • Companies that make the necessary efforts to maintain a fair, healthy and safe work environment
  • Companies that make the necessary efforts to ensure the sustainability of their communities and the environment

Strategies

ESG factor integration

Integrating ESG factors into investment decisions is an ongoing process. For this reason, SSQ Insurance set up an independent responsible investing research platform that takes into account ESG factors as well as controversies when evaluating the ESG risk of corporate issuers. The internal expertise concerning corporate issuers combined with the external platform and the use of positive and negative filters lets the investment team fully integrate responsible investing into its decision-making process.

Direct commitment

SSQ’s investment team communicates directly with the managers of the companies in its portfolios to discuss any ESG issues and concerns.

SSQ’s investment team also communicates directly with sectoral analysts in banks and at the external research platform to discuss ESG issues related to the companies in its portfolios.

Environmental impact

In an effort to measure its environmental impact, SSQ Insurance hires an external firm to calculate the carbon footprint of its general funds and compare it to the benchmark. This assessment is done every year and SSQ Insurance aims for its carbon footprint to be below the benchmark.

External fund manager evaluations

ESG factors are also integrated into the evaluation criteria for external managers. A general evaluation is conducted when selecting managers. Their performance is then monitored with respect to the fact that they are signatories of the PRI or that they apply our responsible investing policy.

Promotion

SSQ Insurance agrees to act in the best long-term interests of the economy and to promote these behaviours in every business sector in its sustainable development plan.

It is also important for SSQ Insurance to share the progress of its responsible investing internally and with various committees so that all governance bodies support and abide by responsible investing practices.