Denmark’s Sampension has announced it is adopting a new policy on corporate lobbying, which it will use to make stricter demands of the companies it invests in, to ensure any lobbying they do is socially responsible.

The DKK294.8bn (€40.1bn) labour-market pension provider said companies’ lobbying activities were important to its membership, as evidenced by a recent survey conducted by market research and consultancy firm Epinion.

Jacob Ehlerth Jørgensen, head of ESG at Sampension since December 2021, said: “We know that it is important for our customers that the companies we invest in behave properly and take on their social responsibility.

“And that is also the case when it comes to corporate lobbying activities, as the study emphasises,” he said.

In the poll, conducted among 6,000 of its customers, Sampension said that 91% of respondents said it was at least “important” to ensure that the companies invested in did not lobby against national or international agreements.

The new ESG chief said Sampension already demanded that investee companies conduct their operations in a socially-responsible way, concerning their climate footprint, social impact and good corporate governance, among other things.

“In the same way, the companies’ lobbying activities must, of course, also take place in a responsible manner, and here we are now further strengthening our focus with the new policy,” Jørgensen said.

The policy states that companies should ensure their lobbying activities take into account the Paris Agreement, the UN Global Goals and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, for example, Sampension said.

It said the policy also contained principles that firms were encouraged to follow when conducting lobbying work, including publishing a policy for responsible lobbying, continuously monitoring and reviewing their lobbying activities, and annual reporting on the activities.

Since Jørgensen took over ESG leadership at Sampension in December, the business had signalled more concrete criteria regarding climate issues from both companies and asset managers, announcing in January it would increase engagement with companies it invested in this year.

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