In June 2020, Dan Osman, Aspen’s Head of Credit and Political Risk, formed Project Leaf, a working group made up of Underwriters and Credit Analysts across London, Singapore and Bermuda.
Project Leaf puts each of the three elements in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) on equal footing and feeds into the framework that is used in all areas of Aspen’s business. This could include, for example, choosing which projects to finance, to understanding how to assess impact where E might conflict with G. The group’s overarching vision is to be the sustainable partner of choice for their clients, with two-thirds of Aspen’s premium originating from transactions which have a favorable ESG classification.
To achieve this, the team began their journey by first understanding the exposure of Aspen’s Credit and Political Risk (CPR) portfolio. Additionally, they asked what their clients were doing to improve their own sustainability and, where appropriate, began working with them on delivering on environmental targets. Subsequently, smaller groups were created to focus on specific topics/themes, in turn, allowing the working group to develop a more granular strategy.
The result of this work has been a refined strategy to support ESG related business to the extent that two-thirds of underwriting revenue for the Aspen CPR team will be from ESG positive transactions by 2026. To support this, the team will follow a developed framework for assessing and classifying transactions underwritten, and this categorization will allow the team to report progress toward the goal. In addition, the team also will begin to support longer term ESG related transactions up to a 20-year period.
To support a wider sustainability strategy, the working group plans to adopt a number of additional initiatives, such as mentoring at schools, partnering with local charities, engaging in staff training, looking into company incentives and working with other teams at Aspen to reduce the company’s carbon footprint through travel, to name a few. The team looks forward to reporting on progress here in line with the wider business shift.
Project Leaf’s goal is to create a clear roadmap for corporate responsibility that closely aligns with Aspen’s ESG Report, with many of the objectives locked in for delivery by 2026. Dan Osman said: “There’s no reason why we can’t have the best of both worlds, with a sustainable environment and a happier society. It’s about how we enact our responsibility to play our part in protecting the planet; we are custodians and I believe very strongly we must each do what we can to leave things better than we found them.”
You can read more about our ESG efforts in our report.