LUXEMBOURG, LU — Nordea Asset Management (NAM) is honoured to receive recognition from Environmental Finance at its Sustainable Investment Awards 2020. NAM won the ESG Engagement Initiative of the Year for its work to reduce pharmaceutical pollution.

Environmental Finance, a pan European news outlet reporting on sustainable investment, announced its decision to recognize Nordea Asset Management with the ESG Initiative of the Year Award for its work to reduce pharmaceutical water pollution in India, where 163 million people lack access to clean water.

“This represents a long-term commitment to engage with pharma companies that we are invested in.” said Eric Pedersen, Head of Responsible Investment at Nordea Asset Management. “It is also a prime example of how engagement can address the ‘double materiality’ of ESG factors: Reducing investors’ risk from owning the companies involved, while at the same time limiting the negative externalities of those companies on the world around us.”

In 2015, Nordea’s Responsible Investments Team initiated its engagement with a field trip to Hyderabad, where they witnessed fierce industrial pollution surrounding pharma manufacturing sites. “We have commissioned two independent on-the-ground investigations over the past five years to understand the environmental and health impacts of pharmaceutical manufacturing,” says Magdalena Kettis, Active Ownership Director at Nordea Asset Management. “We shared our findings and expectations with pharma companies and the industry-led Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI). In response, the industry developed an action plan taking an industry approach to address pharma water pollution in India, which included capability training of Indian suppliers through training conferences and webinars.”

As the only investor member of PSCI’s Advisory Board, NAM continues to meet regularly with pharma industry leaders to discuss progress and most of NAM’s expectations have been met; the pharma industry has taken important steps to engage with suppliers and address water pollution.

“As the ongoing Coronavirus crisis emphasizes the importance of responsible action by the pharma sector and the continued need for Antimicrobial Resistance stewardship, Nordea is continuing engagement through the AMR Benchmark, World Water Week events and company dialogues,” says Eric Pedersen.

Since being considered for the award, Nordea has taken part in an investor engagement targeting the pharmaceutical sector on Covid-19. A statement signed by over 100 investors managing more than USD14 tn has been sent to the largest pharma companies across the globe. This statement includes expectations that pharmaceutical companies prioritize delivering affordable worldwide access to health products in these times rather than sole profit-seeking behaviour, focus on international cooperation to ensure supply chains are functional, and invest in R&D programmes to help better contain future pandemics.