The Responsible Investment Charter sets out the Bank's vision of sustainability and includes the principles and the reference criteria underlying the sustainable management of its financial investments; it also outlines the precise commitments through which it intends to make its work on a sustainable model for economic growth more concrete.
The Charter applies to those financial assets managed under the Bank's own responsibility, namely its financial portfolio and foreign exchange reserves investments. It does not apply to monetary policy portfolios, however, as they are managed by the Eurosystem.
The principles and criteria set out in the Charter will guide the integration of sustainability assessments with financial ones; furthermore, the Bank seeks to use the Charter to foster greater awareness of these issues in the financial community with the goal of stimulating firms to adopt forms of management that are mindful of the environment, society and the best corporate governance practices.
The Bank has adopted a broad vision of sustainability for its investments, which includes environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) aspects, giving priority to firms that: a) focus on the responsible use of natural resources and their impact on ecosystems; b) maintain adequate conditions regarding safety, health, justice, equality and inclusion; and c) generate income and employment in compliance with ethical principles and with the best corporate governance.
The Bank’s sustainable investment policy refers to:
- the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, relating to human rights, labour standards, safeguarding the environment and fighting against corruption;
- the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 Agenda;
- the Paris Agreement on climate change, which tasks governments with keeping the average global temperature increase well below 2 degrees centigrade compared with pre-industrial levels and continuing to work on limiting the increase to 1.5 degrees centigrade.
The Charter also refers to the recommendations of the Network for Greening the Financial System, in which the Bank has been an active participant since 2019, and to the common stance that has emerged in the Eurosystem for applying sustainable and responsible investment criteria to non-monetary policy portfolios.
One important aspect of the Charter is the definition of exclusion criteria for the Bank to use to identify the perimeter within which to select investments. Issuing companies are excluded from the investment universe if they do not respect: a) the eight fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) that require compliance with fundamental rights, including the elimination of forced labour, freedom of association, the abolition of child labour and of discrimination in employment. b) international treaties on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions, weapons with non-detectable fragments, incendiary weapons and blinding laser weapons. Tobacco producers are also excluded.
The Bank has taken on three commitments in its investment Charter:
- to promote ESG sustainability, with initiatives to encourage the diffusion of information on sustainability by issuing firms, banks and other financial system operators;
- to integrate ESG principles into the management of its investments and of financial risks and to promote the diffusion of best practices;
- to publish information and analyses on sustainable finance; to communicate the results achieved in terms of sustainability on a regular basis; and to contribute to spreading the culture of financial sustainability within the financial system and among citizens.