Triodos SICAV I applies some of the strictest criteria in the market. The fund believes that companies that successfully balance their impact on the environment, society and their business will deliver optimal long-term value to all stakeholders, including their shareholders. The views on sustainable corporate behaviour evolve over time with increasing knowledge and insight. The fund’s criteria therefore continuously evolve as well. Triodos SICAV I regularly updates its criteria to ensure that they reflect the latest views on sustainability that exist within Triodos Bank and in society. Triodos SICAV I therefore fully participates in the public debate about sustainability.
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In 2016, the fund reconsidered its position on a number of minimum standards:
- Genetic engineering: stricter requirements were developed for companies that use or process ingredients from genetically modified (GM) food crops. Instead of showing a passive willingness to limit the use of GM ingredients, companies now have to demonstrate a proactive attitude. They can do this by offering alternatives to foods containing GM ingredients and thus giving consumers freedom of choice. Other options are developing and/or supporting initiatives to limit the use and production of GM food or producing products that are entirely free of genetically modified ingredients;
- Country methodology: the methodology to assess sovereign bonds was introduced in 2010. Once every three years, countries are re-assessed and the methodology is updated. The list of conventions that countries need to have signed before they can be considered eligible for investment was updated. Conventions that were added include the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions on Hazardous Substances, the Convention on Migratory Species, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Convention on World Heritage;
- As a result of the dialogue held with financial institutions currently selected for sustainable investment, the fund further strengthened its requirements for financial companies with regard to their involvement in controversial arms. The zero-tolerance policy about investing in weapons has been further extended and as such, now also directly impacts financial institutions with an indirect involvement in controversial weapons. The fund extended the reach of this policy to financial institutions’ third-party funds and their execution-only activities for controversial weapons, including nuclear arms. Financial institutions have been given until January 1, 2019 to meet these additional demands.
- Deforestation: three industries were added to the list of industries that entail a high-risk for involvement in deforestation: Food & Staples Retailing, Food Products and Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure. Together with soy, beef is the most important driver of deforestation, especially in South America. From now on, companies that process or sell beef are required to have a policy on deforestation covering beef products, or must support organisations that either have or are developing deforestation standards;
- Retail of electricity from fossil fuels: the fund’s policy to exclude companies that receive more than 5% of their revenue from electricity generated from coal has been extended to revenue from electricity generated from any type of fossil fuel.
A full overview of the fund’s sustainability criteria is available on www.triodos.com.