As of 2 November, companies operating in the mining/drilling or processing of fossil fuels, which were still eligible for the underlying share baskets of sustainable KBC investment funds because of their positive sustainability ranking compared to their peers, are no longer included in these share baskets. Investors need do nothing in this regard.
Johan Thijs concludes, 'This tightening of our policy is a major addition to the stringent conditions that utilities already have to fulfil to win a place in our sustainable funds. We want to keep pace with shifting concerns and behavioural patterns in our society and reflect what we perceive by adjusting our sustainability policy accordingly. In this respect, we are working closely together with an independent advisory board made up of lecturers and experts who regularly challenge whether our policy still aligns to the constantly changing normative and scientific sustainability landscape.
KBC is active elsewhere in the transition to a low-carbon economy. By 2030, KBC wants 50% of loans for energy-related projects to comprise renewal energy projects and to develop financial solutions aimed at easing the switch to energy-efficient buildings and mobility. In addition, KBC is imposing strict, restrictive environmental conditions on funding biomass and biofuel activities, and it has stopped funding for the purposes of new coal-fired power generation. KBC has plugged the funding of operations to win unconventional fuels (shale oil, for instance) and oil-fired electricity generation and imposed strict terms and conditions on finance for integrated energy companies.
We continue as ever to work on our sustainable and socially responsible business objectives, full details of which can be found in our Report to Society, available on our website, as are KBC's guiding principles on corporate sustainability.
Johan Thijs, CEO of the KBC group comments, 'Corporate Sustainability is a strategic anchoring for KBC. We therefore offer investors a particularly broad range of sustainable investment funds which already now account for over 5.75 billion euros of assets under management. That's no less than twice the figure we had this time last year. We expect our staff to talk to investor clients about the possibility of making their investment portfolio more sustainable. However, it is ultimately up to the client to choose between sustainable and conventional forms of investment.'
 Except for the Czech Republic, where strict conditions nevertheless apply.