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February 2021
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Japan’s GPIF seeks ESG research providers

GPIF
By Hui Ching-hoo   
January 22, 2021

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) is looking to hire an unspecified number of firms to provide research and tools for its sustainable investments.

The firms will be responsible for providing academic research, investment methods, technologies and systems, and analytic tools for the pension fund’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, and investments to attain the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the GPIF says in its request for proposal on January 20.

The providers will also need to assess performance and develop portfolio theory for ESG and SDG strategies. Applications for the mandate are open until February 12.

GPIF, the world’s largest pension fund, is at the forefront among Asian institutional investors in ESG investing. As of December 2019, it had benchmarked 5.7 trillion yen (US$55.3 billion) of assets to ESG indexes. The fund also requires all its external managers to integrate ESG into their investment processes.

“To respond to the economic and social changes, and rapid advancements in technologies, we will set research projects on theory of policy asset mix and innovative investment strategies based on long-term perspective,” according to the request for proposal.

GPIF will also review efforts to achieve the SDG goals “both by governments and companies to our beneficiaries in the long run and to our investment to make it safer and more efficient”.

The 17 SDGs which came into force in 2016 are aimed at addressing global challenges, including poverty, inequality, and climate change. The target is to achieve the goals by 2030.

GPIF had 167.5 trillion yen of total assets as of September 2020.