The carbon footprint of Ilmarinen’s investment portfolio decreased significantly


Earnings-related pension company Ilmarinen saw the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio decrease and the share of renewable energy in its investee companies increase significantly. This information comes from Ilmarinen’s Annual and Sustainability Report 2023.

An old man dressed in winter clothes looks into the distance.

As an investor, Ilmarinen is large by Finnish standards and medium-sized even by European standards. The company’s investment assets at the end of 2023 amounted to EUR 58.9 billion. 

“We invest pension assets profitably, securely and responsibly. Our long-term and responsible investment operations are aimed at safeguarding solvency to ensure that our customers receive the pension they earned from work. Work to mitigate climate change plays a key role in managing investment risks. That is why last year’s good performance proved to be a big success particularly from the perspective of future pensioners,” says Kaisa Ala-Laurila, Executive Vice President, Communications and Corporate Responsibility.

Ilmarinen’s carbon footprint mainly stems from the investment portfolio. 

Ilmarinen’s goal is to achieve a carbon-neutral investment portfolio by the end of 2035. The goal made clear progress in 2023: 

The investment portfolios’ carbon footprints in relation to turnover decreased in all asset classes in which carbon footprint calculation is possible. Absolute emissions fell, with direct listed equity investments registering a particularly large fall.

“While the investment portfolio grew, its carbon footprint decreased at the same time. This positive development shows that we are on track with our Climate Roadmap’s targets,” says Karoliina Lindroos, Head of Responsible Investment.

However, work still remains to be done when it comes to Scope 3 emissions, i.e. emissions from the investees’ value chain, for which an increase was recorded. The Scope 3 calculation was improved in 2023, which may have an impact on the results, in addition to sector changes within the portfolio.

Climate embedded even more deeply in the investment strategy

Ilmarinen’s direct listed equity portfolio’s weighted carbon footprint decreased by roughly 12 per cent compared to the previous year and is lower than the weighted average carbon intensity of the climate benchmark index. The indirect listed equity portfolio’s weighted carbon footprint decreased by 13 per cent compared to the previous year. 

The weighted carbon footprint of the direct corporate bond portfolio fell the most, by as much as 60 per cent, compared to the previous year. The carbon footprint of the indirect corporate bond portfolio fell by 28 per cent. 

“One reason for our good progress is that we replaced the more general sustainability index that was previously used as the benchmark index for direct listed equity investments with an index with a stronger focus on climate,” Lindroos says.

Forest and pharmaceutical industries’ nature impacts garnered special attention in investments

Ilmarinen continued the implementation of its Biodiversity Roadmap and reported for the second time using the international Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) reporting framework. 

“We assessed the exposures of our direct listed equity and fixed income portfolios to sectors that are key for biodiversity. The assessment showed that the majority of our investments are in sectors which the TNFD has not defined as priority sectors for biodiversity,” Lindroos says. 

Just under 30 per cent of our portfolio is invested in sectors where nature impacts and dependencies play a significant role. Our largest exposures are in the pharmaceutical industry and in the forest industry. 

“We looked into how companies in this sector take nature-related issues into consideration and whether they have assessed the nature dependencies and impacts of their business operations. In our portfolio, nature had been taken into consideration in a larger number of forest industry companies than pharmaceutical companies,” Lindroos says. 

Ilmarinen engages with it’s investees both directly and together with other investors. 

“In 2023, we joined the Nature Action 100 investor initiative, which encourages companies to take biodiversity into account in their operations,” Lindroos says.

A clear increase in the share of renewable energy among investees

Ilmarinen’s target is for at least 40 per cent of our investees’ energy production to be renewable energy by 2030. 

Within a year, Ilmarinen took big steps toward that target: In 2023, the share of renewable energy of the direct listed equity portfolio’s energy production (GWh) rose to some 35 per cent from 26 per cent in the previous year. In the direct corporate bond portfolio, the share of renewable energy rose to 31 per cent from 26 per cent. 

Ilmarinen’s target for direct listed investments for 2030 is to have no coal-based energy production in the investment portfolio. That target also progressed in 2023: coal-based energy production (GWh) accounted for just around 4 per cent (15 per cent in 2022) of the direct listed equity portfolio and for 6 per cent (14 per cent in 2022) of the direct corporate bond portfolio. 

Ilmarinen’s reporting

Ilmarinen comprehensively reports on matters related to environmental responsibility, social responsibility and good governance in its Annual and Sustainability Report. The report also provides insights into pension security and into how Ilmarinen has managed it during the year. The report is available in English, Finnish and Swedish. It has been implemented in an accessible manner. 

This is the eighth time that Ilmarinen reports in accordance with the GRI guidelines. Concerning climate issues, Ilmarinen also uses the international TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) framework, and this year for the second time, the TNFD (Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures) framework for biodiversity issues. The report was verified by Ernst & Young Oy.

Starting in 2024, Ilmarinen will report in accordance with the new ESRS standard.

Learn more:


Kaisa Ala-Laurila, Executive Vice President, Communications and Corporate Responsibility, tel. +358 407779212

Karoliina Lindroos, Head of Responsible Investment and Sustainability, +358 40 577 2203,

Tietoja julkaisijasta

Ilmarinen’s task is to ensure that our customers receive the pension they earned from employment. We promote a better working life and thus help our customers succeed. In total, we are responsible for the pension cover of some 1,1 million people. We have investment assets of close to EUR 60 billion to cover pension liabilities. For more information, please visit:

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