Financial return is no longer the sole prerogative of investors. Now, the focus is also on the impact on the environment and on society. In this regard, Itaú has known how to take the pulse of reality and its product offering has been following this trend; ahead of the times, and adapting products to customer demands.
There is a “genuine interest” in promoting responsible investment and offering investment funds aligned with ESG criteria. “Before, clients who asked not to invest in a certain industry or sector due to its socio-environmental impact were isolated cases,” commented Inés Sturla, Product Manager at Itaú Personal Bank. “The number of clients with these concerns has grown, simultaneously with the news about it appearing in the press. Clients are more informed about these issues and they demand that we have an offer of investment products that contemplate sustainability criteria ”, he deepened. “There was a change: from something isolated, which was supported more by individual ethical principles, it passed to a social conscience.”
Itaú has been incorporating ESG aspects proactively both in business and operations. This responds to the corporate sustainability strategy aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Itaú’s commitment to responsible investment applies both to the investment products it offers to the client and to the criteria when choosing funds that take into account environmental, social and governance criteria. At Itaú they recognize that there has been a confluence of the bank’s strategy and what they want to position at the market level, with customer demand.
The positive impact commitments that guide Itaú’s sustainability strategy are intended to generate a positive impact from the institution’s business and operations: 1) Financing for sectors with a positive impact; 2) Responsible investment; 3) inclusion and entrepreneurship; 4) Financial citizenship; 5) Transparency in reports and communication; 6) Ethics in business and relationships; 7) Inclusive management; 8) Responsible management of the supply chain and resources.
Sturla, Product Manager at Itaú Personal Bank, assured that there are two challenges ahead. First, the financial education of clients. Itaú works so that investors make decisions by understanding what is behind it. Just last month the bank organized a talk focused on educating clients on impact investing.
On the other hand, “there is the challenge of continuing to incorporate products that are good in this area. We already have the filter that each investment fund that we include in the offer has to have a certain sustainability score ”.
Itaú seeks to evolve from a sustainability area at the service of the business and operations, to a sustainable business strategy that is incorporated into the bank’s business model.
In relation to the covid 19 pandemic, Sturla acknowledges that he accelerated this type of change.
“It generated more social awareness on these important issues; conversations with customers are different today than they were two years ago. Some time ago what we operated in this type of product was marginal, that changed substantially this year. The pandemic helped raise that awareness, ”Sturla said.