ESG at Bramfort
Bramfort is committed to partnering with its portfolio companies and entrepreneurs to build valuable, sustainable companies for the long-term. One of the ways that the firm remains a successful steward of its investors’ capital is by honoring Bramfort’ fundamental commitment to growth-oriented investing. As the firm identifies these growth opportunities and the potential to create lasting value, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are forefront in the investment process and day-to-day operations.
Bramfort expands and develops its strategic approach to ESG related matters both internally and in partnership with its portfolio companies on an ongoing basis to adapt to the evolving scope of ESG issues and the investment landscape. The firm adopts best practices in responsible investing and abides by Bramfort’ internal ESG Policy, the Guidelines for Responsible Investment as developed by the American Investment Council, and the Principles for Responsible Investment. Bramfort considers these guidelines throughout the investment cycle, taking into account material ESG factors with respect to the nuances of each region, sector, and investment opportunity – whether in the initial stage of reviewing investment opportunities, due diligence, or in monitoring existing investments when serving on the boards of portfolio companies. Through this process, Bramfort and its portfolio companies have seen improvements in managing risk, achieving efficiencies and cost reductions, and identifying new market opportunities. This has allowed the firm and its portfolio companies to build more valuable, competitive, and sustainable entities while strengthening relationships with stakeholders.
Our sustainability governance
framework enables us to
achieve our sustainability
objectives across our global
franchise, facilitating easier and
more strategic decision-making
within the context of our
Oversight of our ESG framework is part
of the mandate of our Board of Directors’
Corporate Governance and Nominating
Committee (CGNC). The CGNC reviews the
progress made on our sustainability strategy
and stays informed of ESG trends, risks
and opportunities through management
reporting. Members of the CGNC include the
Chairman of the Board and six independent
Board members. Board members also
receive ongoing education through
presentations and information packages
about emerging issues and topics relevant
to our business and operations and
the regulatory environment to enhance
their knowledge and understanding of
The CGNC’s oversight of our ESG framework complements the work of the Executive Sustainability Council (ESC). The ESC consists of our Global Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) along with nine members of our Executive Leadership Team (ELT), including our Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The chair position, currently held by our Global Chief Marketing Officer, is held on a two-year rotational basis. Meeting on a monthly basis, the ESC is responsible for establishing the enterprise’s sustainability ambition, guiding the development and execution of the sustainability strategy and providing recommendations and direction on matters related to ESG. In addition to the ESC, we have subsidiary-specific committees that execute asset-class-specific sustainability objectives.
Strengthening Our Portfolio
Our approach is grounded in a responsibility to our investors to be careful stewards of capital. We have long been implementing a number of initiatives designed to make our companies stronger and more resilient. Many of these, like promoting sustainability and diversity, are today considered core components of ESG.
Integrating ESG Priorities
While ESG is a vast and growing field, we have chosen to prioritize decarbonization, diversity and good governance. We aim to lead by example and apply our insights to drive change across our portfolio. The power of our model is supported by strong operational interventions, led by our Portfolio Operations and Asset Management teams.
Financing the transition to net zero Our General Account consists of our company’s own assets, which support our policyholder liabilities. Bramfort invests substantial capital in both public and private markets, meaning we play a critical role as an enabler of the transition to net zero.
• We have committed to net zero investment portfolio by 2050 and are in the process of setting short-term, science-based financed emissions targets to be validated by the SBTi
• We continue to work to grow our portfolio of green investments, such as renewable energy and energy-efficient real estate
Our Products and Services
Being part of the sustainable solution
As a global life insurer, we understand the
connection between our environment and
human health. As an investment manager,
we are in a position to build dedicated
investment strategies that address the issues
of climate change and offer nature-based
solutions to mitigate climate change through
forests and farms. We are accelerating
the pace of innovation around developing
products that both solve customer needs and
help create a more sustainable future.
• Where appropriate, we are collaborating with asset management peers on key issues, including climate, and are demonstrating asset manager support for responsible investment though avenues such as the CDP Science-based Target Campaign, Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change and signing of the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge
• We are encouraging the adoption of sustainable business practices in public markets, promoting action that enables sustainable long-term growth and reduces the potential impact of material sustainability risks over time
• We continue to grow our offerings of dedicated sustainable investing strategies, including nature-based solutions to climate change
• We are contributing to a growing body of knowledge on the impact of climate change on human health, strengthening our ability to respond to client needs
We value and actively support the robust integration of sustainability principles in our investment approaches, including our active strategies. This holds true across asset classes, geographies and our business identities — whether we are acting as asset operators, equity holders or debt holders. Our goal is to encourage action and mitigate systemic environmental risks in a strategic and impactful way, including working with companies we invest in and advocating for change across an array of forums. Across our asset management business, we made improvements to ESG integration, reporting and monitoring in 2021, which incorporates climate-related factors. We also launched dedicated climate-related strategies in support of our clients.
As part of our Impact Agenda,
we are dedicated to advancing
positive, measurable social and
Through our community investments, we
work with organizations to foster healthier,
more inclusive communities across our
three interconnected strategic focus areas
to empower sustained health and well-being,
drive equitable economic opportunity and
accelerate a sustainable future.
We focus on removing barriers and
empowering people in the communities
where Bramfort operates. In addition
to programmatic funding, we also fund
research to support innovative, cutting-edge
ideas, to understand, address and promote
sustainable change. And with the ongoing
challenges of COVID-19 and natural
disasters around the world happening with
more frequency, we remain committed to
helping communities respond effectively
with resiliency and recovery resources.
Our strategy prioritizes investments to
• Share a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, particularly through representative leadership and targeted programming to historically underserved communities
• Drive community-centred solutions, working collaboratively across sectors, aimed at innovative and scalable initiatives
• Demonstrate a holistic approach to the many aspects of well-being, including mental health, to improve and sustain positive outcomes over the long-term
• Utilize data to measure impact with key performance indicators and a commitment to reporting on progress Our approach to community investment takes many forms, including direct funding and employee giving and volunteering, which leverage skills-based activities and matching programs.
It is important we understand the impact of our initiatives, which makes it critical to efficiently measure and track our investments. We recently joined Business for Societal Impact (B4SI) so that we can improve the measurement of our inputs, outputs and impacts more purposefully. B4SI is the global standard in measuring and managing corporate community investment, and its framework is used by organizations around the world to effectively measure, report and communicate their social contributions and investments. By joining B4SI we will be better positioned to report on our performance in future years. In 2021, our total corporate donations amounted to $21.7 million. In addition, employee donations totaled $3.7 million, and an additional $13.2 million was raised/contributed by external sources leveraging Bramfort community investment program assets
Bramfort takes the following considerations into account when making investments:
When making control investments, Energy Spas undertakes the following additional activities:
CREDIT AND MINORITY INVESTMENTS
While the consideration of ESG factors has traditionally fallen under the purview of active equity investors with a greater ability to influence outcomes, we believe that credit and other minority investors also have an obligation to take into account ESG factors. In evaluating minority investments, teams:
Mitigating hazards and managing risk is critical to our day-to-day interactions with our customers and business operations. Our Risk Management strategy scales up to the executive level, with our Board of Directors and Risk Committee overseeing the management of our principal risks, and our programs, policies and procedures to manage those risks. Responsible risk-taking is all about striking the right balance between taking risk where it is necessary and safeguarding our business and customers’ best interests. It is a calculative process that requires many team members from many departments. Our approach to risk management is governed by our ERM framework, which sets out a structured process for risk management activities across the enterprise to support our long-term revenue, earnings and capital growth strategy.
Effective risk management
There is significant internal communication surrounding risk management. The ERM framework is communicated through risk policies and standards, which enable consistent design and execution of strategies across the organization. Management is responsible for managing risk within the company’s risk appetite — which defines the amount and types of risks we are willing to assume in pursuit of our objectives — and has established risk management strategies and monitoring practices
The goal of our marketing strategy is to meet the needs of our customers while supporting the needs of future generations. As a Fortune 500 enterprise, we are conscious of our influence on the world — and the great responsibility that comes along with that. Bramfort has many practices and processes in place that align with the fair treatment of customers. These include strong protection of private information, plain language communication with customers, responsive customer service and complaint handling processes. We ensure our products are clearly explained and honestly marketed so our customers can make informed decisions and choose products and services that are most beneficial to them. Bramfort actively participates in industry dialogue with regulators and industry associations to provide feedback on potential regulations and learn more about regulatory expectations. We use advertising and marketing as a way to engage with consumers on topics that matter to them. Advertising and marketing help us to tell people about our latest solutions, products and services. We are committed to reflecting DEI throughout our advertising and marketing, ensuring that our materials fully represent our consumers, employees and communities and are equally accessible to all. We are committed to building trust through responsible practices and through transparent communication — both directly to consumers and indirectly through other key stakeholders and thought-leaders. Responsible marketing of ESG investments Bramfort Investment Management has a compliance program that employs a variety of internal assessment and testing techniques to ensure adherence to its policies, procedures and corresponding requirements. Our team of Compliance professionals also provide advice and guidance to enhance our ESG-related processes, to ensure adherence to the different regulatory environments in which we operate. We also leverage the expertise of third party ESG consultants to review our ESG policies and processes to provide an additional objective lens to our internal assessments and provide guidance on best market practices. As this landscape is fluid and continues to develop, we review and seek to adapt our testing activities accordingly. In 2021, Compliance reviewed ESG-related marketing materials in Bramfort Investment Management and other disclosures, monitoring against portfolio guidelines and mandates and reviewing the investment decision-making process for selected asset classes to ensure alignment with disclosures. We also tested our Proxy Voting Policy against our practices and records to assess the reasonable design and compliance of our proxy voting program. As a result, we added additional controls for broader proposal reviews by analysts, amended the meeting procedures of our internal Proxy Voting Working Group to ensure more efficient and timely decision making, and conducted training for analysts on reviewing and documenting proxy voting matters