UBS doubles sustainable portfolio of assets to almost £2bn

Financial services firm UBS has today (August 14) announced that it now manages £1.93bn worth of assets through its sustainable portfolio, more than double the size from when it first launched seven months ago.

The portfolio was made available to UK investors in the private sector in June and has increased by almost £1bn since UBS first migrated £947m from a previous sustainable portfolio in January. 

“Our new sustainable portfolio has helped show clients that their investments can be fully sustainable without compromising on diversification and returns,” UBS’ UK head of wealth management, Eva Lindholm, said.

“We are pleased to see such significant demand for this solution both in the UK and beyond.”

The portfolio was launched following the success of similar financial products in Asia and Switzerland. It aims to invest in shares of companies managing sustainability issues better than competitors. Alongside World Bank bonds, green bonds and ESG equity funds, UBS also invests in shares of companies which sell products and services aimed at tackling particular environmental or social challenges.

It additionally invests through fund managers that actively engage with a company’s management team to improve performance on issues and opportunities surrounding corporate social responsibility and ethics.

As part of the announcement, UBS revealed it is joining the Climate Bonds Initiative, which is aiming to mobilise $100trn for climate change solutions.

UBS is widely touted as a sustainability leader in the finance sector, having previously underlined its positivity towards the renewables revolution. The firm has also urged investors to become catalysts in a move towards electric cars, solar technology and other green innovations.

Within its own operations, the firm recently installed almost 600 solar panels on its UK headquarters in London and committed to source 100% renewable energy by 2020 as part of its membership to the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative.

Investment trend

With some investors fearing that the next financial crash will be climate related, UBS is the latest company in the finance and banking sector to move to increase investments in green business projects. For example, Lloyds Banking Group recently launched a further £2bn of funding for sustainable investments, increasing its total UK green finance commitments to £3bn.

Meanwhile, Barclays has launched new green trade loans to help companies secure working capital for activities such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and waste management projects. In April, it additionally announced its Green Home Mortgage scheme, offering homebuyers preferential interest rates and savings of more than £1,300 on new, energy-efficient houses.

Banking giant NatWest similarly pledged in March to deliver £10bn of lending to UK renewable energy and energy efficiency projects by 2020, having provided £3.5bn for renewables and energy efficiency projects over the past three years.

Banking giant NatWest similarly pledged to deliver £10bn of lending to UK renewable energy and energy efficiency projects by 2020, having provided £3.5bn for renewables and energy efficiency projects over the past three years.

Elsewhere, Dutch bank ING this year launched a €100m Sustainable Investments fund to help start-ups and innovative new business models scale up concepts and projects tailored to energy, water and resource efficiency.

Sarah George

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