Austria-based investment firm Erste Asset Management announced today that it has achieved climate neutrality, measuring and offsetting CO2 emissions, including Scope 3 emissions. The company also revealed that the carbon intensity of its equity funds is well below that of the global equity market.

Heinz Bednar, Managing Director of Erste Asset Management, said:

“First of all, climate protection means recording all emissions and taking the right steps to consistently reduce them. Sustainability and climate neutrality are not just catchphrases for us. We promote and live both as a company.”

At the beginning of 2020, Erste AM carried out a comprehensive calculation of corporate greenhouse gas emissions, becoming one of the first firms in the financial sector to do so, according to the firm. The calculation was carried out for the years 2018 and 2019, and was certified by experts at BOKU Vienna (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences).

Erste AM’s calculation covered Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, comprised of emissions that arise directly at the company, emissions that arise indirectly through the operation of the company, and emissions that result from upstream value chains and the use of the company’s products, respectively. In all, the company determined that its CO2 emission were 373 tons in 2019, and 410 tons in 2018.

Erste AM has chosen to offset its CO2 emissions through the voluntary market, and has elected to support  two international projects to fulfill its offset obligations, including a reforestation and forest regeneration project in Ethiopia, and a forest protection project in the Colombian rainforest.

The company has also embarked on initiatives to reduce its own emissions, including efforts to reduce emissions on the way to work, increased use of video conferences, and the reduction of business trips.

Bednar added:

“Our primary goal is to further reduce CO2 emissions as a company through specific measures. Climate neutralization through projects is a complementary step for us to be CO2 neutral as a company. ”

According to Erste AM, the company has been integrating ESG factors into its operations, including publishing the CO2 emissions of the companies held in its equity funds every year. Erste AM announced that its equity funds have a CO2 intensity 25% below that of the broader global equity market. The company has been managing over 50 retail funds on the basis of integrated ESG criteria, and these funds have a CO2 intensity less than half that of the broader market.