We’re accountable to you and your employees when it comes to the investments we make on your behalf. We understand that considering how our investment managers integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when building a portfolio can have a big impact, both positive and negative, on the environment, climate, people and society. It can also have a financial influence on companies, their shareholders and investors. That’s why ESG is integrated into our investment options.

The following table shows a summary of how ESG is applied to our off-the-shelf investment options and our self-select investment options. You can find more details below the table.

How ESG is applied to Standard Life’s range of investment options

ESG incorporation


Integration Screening Thematic Engagement Proxy voting
Easy investment options:
Sustainable Multi Asset range
(lifestyle profile) *Note 1
Sustainable Focus range
(lifestyle profile) *Note 1
Passive Core
(lifestyle profile) *Note 2
MyFolio Managed range
(funds and lifestyle profiles which include the funds)
MyFolio Index range
(funds) *Note 2
Managed Fund
(fund and lifestyle profiles)
Do-it-yourself investment options:
Sustainable Focus range
(Funds) *Note 5
Funds managed by abrdn
*Note 3
Funds managed by other external fund managers
*Note 4

*Note 5

*Note 5

*Note 4

*Note 4

Our sustainable multi asset range takes into account a range of sustainability factors, particularly those that can have a positive or negative financial impact on the performance of companies in which the underlying funds invest in.

The Passive Plus and MyFolio Index ranges, and the Passive Core lifestyle profile invest predominantly in passively managed funds. This is when an investment manager tracks the performance, before charges, of a benchmark or index rather than making active investment decisions about where money is invested. This means they don’t actively integrate ESG into their investment processes. However, as a steward of an investment they can influence positive change using engagement and voting rights.

These include ethical funds which use screening approaches.

Standard Life offers a range of funds managed by other external fund managers. A number of these have ESG and/or stewardship within their investment processes.

Standard Life offers a range of funds that include specific values-based themes and ethical screening approaches. Find out more about these choices below.


Find out how ESG can help manage risk

Find out more

More about ESG integration and investment choices


Off-the-shelf actively managed investment options

The funds in the Active Plus and MyFolio Managed ranges, and the Managed Fund (as well as the underlying funds these invest in), are mainly actively managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments. They integrate ESG into their investment management processes. As an active manager they have the information and flexibility to take account of ESG analysis and factors when they select investments for their portfolios.

Please note: although ESG is integrated at all stages of the investment management processes, screening and thematic approaches may not be applied. So investments which could be seen as negative may still be included.

Some of the underlying funds used by Sustainable Multi Asset track custom indices designed to support its focus on financially material sustainability factors. This involves screening certain companies that are considered to have sustainability risks out of these indices, targeting improved sustainable outcomes and using stewardship to drive change.

The vast majority of the funds in the Passive Plus range and the Passive Core lifestyle profile use some underlying investments that track a generic market index, so ESG isn’t integrated into the selection of individual stocks. But all the passive investment managers we use have established investment stewardship programmes. In other words, they actively engage with the companies they invest in to help influence positive change. This approach can bring improvements to board composition, executive pay and benefits, governance structures, and board oversight of strategy and risk


Off-the-shelf passively managed investment options

Graph investing

Self-select investment options

This is the name for the wide range of investment funds we offer (alongside the core active and passive options) from all the investment managers we work with. And we want all of them to explain how they apply responsible investment to their funds.

Subject to any obvious restrictions to their strategies, for instance where a passive manager has to track a broad market index, we expect all the investment managers we work with to:

  • engage effectively with companies and, when necessary, escalate this engagement to drive better long-term performance from the business as a whole
  • use the voting rights they have to encourage positive commitments or practices
  • deliver robust reporting on their ESG engagement activities, including details on the factors they discuss, and any actions or outcomes agreed during these meetings

Responsible investment based on strong principles

We base our commitment to responsible investment on strong principles: those of the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (the PRI) and the UK Stewardship Code.



This is an independent network of investment companies working together to develop a more sustainable global financial system. It believes that an economically efficient and sustainable system is needed to create long-term value for investors. It also believes that a system like this will reward long-term responsible investment, and benefit the environment and society.

Find out more

The UK Stewardship Code

It aims to improve the quality of engagement between institutional investors, such as fund management groups and pension trustees, and companies to help improve long-term returns for investors.


Find out more

How we monitor ESG integration

We review how managers are integrating ESG in their processes

  • We ask investment managers for information to understand if they’re meeting our current expectations on ESG

We commit to better standards of ESG use and governance

  • We talk with investment managers to encourage them to incorporate and better use ESG in their processes

We have an ESG approach, which covers our pension and life unit-linked fund range

We have an approach to stewardship and engagement

We also offer a choice of screening and thematic approaches

Most of our active investment options take ESG factors into account within the fund management process. But if your employees want to go further and align their investments to their personal ethics and values, we have a range of active and passive funds to help them do this.

These funds offer a mix of screening and thematic approaches. They include ethical funds that screen out ‘negative’ investments, such as tobacco and weapons, and/or screen in ‘positive’ investments such as cleaner energy or sustainable transport. Thematic funds, such as impact funds, aim to achieve a specific environmental or social outcome. Find out more about these approaches.

Remember: the value of all investments can go down as well as up. Your employees may get back less than was paid in.

Active funds

Our actively fund options include both screened and thematic options from a range of fund managers.

We offer a number of ethical funds managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments. These use positive and negative screening criteria. The positive criteria look for companies which are involved in activities that benefit society and the environment. The negative criteria look at avoiding investment in companies involved in certain industries and practices such as animal testing, climate change impacts and human rights issues.

Find out more about Aberdeen Standard Investments’ ethical investment approach for these funds.

We also offer a fund developed by Big Issue Invest, in partnership with Columbia Threadneedle Investments. The fund aims to support socially beneficial activities and developments.

Other active options include thematic and multi-factor funds from Nordea Asset Management and Schroders.

Group Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) options

If you offer a Group SIPP to some or all of your employees, they can choose from a larger range of options managed by other well-known ethical and socially responsible investment managers.

Find out more about the funds available

DNA Helix

More about screening and thematic approaches

Find out more