State pension buffer fund AP1 and other Swedish pension investors – including Folksam, SEB Investment Management and Skandia – have linked up with the Swedish branch of Transparency International (TI) to form a new investor forum to tackle corruption.
Ossian Ekdahl, head of responsible ownership at AP1, said: “AP1 has worked actively for a long time to curb money laundering, financial crime and corruption in various ways. We are now taking another step in this important work.”
AP1, which managed SEK432bn (€42.6bn) at the end of June, said the newly-established Investors Integrity Forum (IIF) would allow investors to pursue issues linked to corruption risks, disseminate knowledge and promote transparency, integrity and accountability, creating better conditions for sustainable and profitable investments.
Other members of the new forum are the Swedish Church and Swedish government development finance organisation Swedfund.
TI Sweden said the IFF members wanted to deepen the analysis of and dialogue with companies that, in various ways, came up against geographical or corporate cultural challenges that made transparent regulatory compliance difficult.
Emilie Westholm, head of responsible ownership at Folksam, said: “Curbing corruption is one of the most important sustainability issues because none of the other sustainability goals can be achieved if we don’t work towards transparency and openness at the same time.”
She said it was important for Folksam, one of Sweden’s largest occupational pension providers, to actively influence its holdings to prevent corruption, adding that cooperating with other investors created a strong voice.
Ulrik Åshuvud, chair the supervisory board of TI Sweden, said the organisation saw the forum as a unique opportunity to hone its business ethics work, together with investors.”
“Robust work against corruption is an investment in sustainability and creates better conditions for profitable investments,” he said.