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After attracting record inflows over the last few years, investors are more recently reported to have fallen out of love with sustainability-focused funds[1].

Does this mean ESG issues are dead in the water? Or is this merely a bump in the road?

Greenwash and backlash

Increased scrutiny of the investment sector’s role in wider societal issues has seen high-profile incidents of greenwashing among asset managers[2].  More recently, as oil and gas prices spiked, many ESG funds have underperformed against those that can hold fossil fuel companies[3]. It is little wonder that some investors have been left with a bad taste in their mouth.

Coupled with this, there is a growing political backlash against sustainability initiatives, most notably in the US. Governments face tough choices, weighing up the cost of long-term societal benefits with short-term cost pressures.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place?

For advisers concerned about their clients’ long-term interests, this can make for tricky conversations. If governments are clawing back on their green promises, does this mean investors are also re-evaluating their commitment to ESG? In addition, with sustainability regulations due to come into force in the UK, where does this leave advisers recommending responsible funds to help clients achieve their financial objectives?

We find ourselves in an uncertain world where issues like responsible investing have become polarising. However, the threats that have pushed sustainability issues to the fore have not gone away. Climate change has only become more prevalent in our daily lives, with its effects starting to be felt in food prices and holiday destination choices. Unequal societies pose a threat to law and order. Poorly governed entities put shareholder returns at risk.

The ESG bandwagon

We believe it remains vitally important that investment managers assess a company’s ability to protect and enhance shareholders’ capital, as opposed to simply judging its short-term profits.

This means there is still a place for investments that place a higher importance on ESG considerations, provided this is implemented thoroughly. As investor money flooded into responsible funds a few years ago, many asset managers rushed to label their funds in this marketplace, regardless of the substance behind their claims.

In practice, this meant investors were potentially buying products positioned as being more ethical than the holdings in the portfolios really were. Since then, changes to regulation will focus on an important role in weeding out greenwashing[4]. In our view, sensible measures that can stamp out investor harm should be welcomed.

ESG’s rebrand

Indeed, ESG-focused funds still exist, but many are now instead branded as ‘thematic’. As thematic investors for more than 20 years, our themes reflect the trends that we believe will shape our world for decades to come

This approach to investing aims to futureproof portfolios, as it is based on finding the best global opportunities regardless of location or sector. Crucially, we are willing to walk away from an investment if we are not satisfied that its way of doing business can survive in the long term.

What does this mean for your clients?

Many of your clients are likely saving towards their retirement or funding their children’s education. This makes it all the more important to ensure their capital is allocated in a way that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of future generations.

If this is a priority for your clients, it is crucial to scrutinise investment managers’ methodologies for evaluating a company’s sustainability metrics. The UK’s sustainability disclosure regulations (SDR) that are due to be implemented later this year aim to standardise the sustainability information consumers should have access to.

For more guidance on how to speak to your investment managers about responsible investing, here are seven questions that can help spot potential greenwashing.

 

[1] Global Sustainable Fund Flows Report Q2 2023, Morningstar, July 2023

[2] ‘A broken system needs urgent repairs’, The Economist, July 2022

[3] ‘Big ESG funds are doing worse than the S&P 500’, Bloomberg, December 2022

[4] FCA update on Sustainability Disclosure Requirements, March 2023


Important information

This information is for investment professionals only and should not be relied upon by private investors.

This document has been issued by Sarasin & Partners LLP which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC329859 and is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. It has been prepared solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation, or an offer to buy or sell any security. The information on which the document is based has been obtained from sources that we believe to be reliable, and in good faith, but we have not independently verified such information and we make no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to their accuracy. All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice.

Please note that the prices of shares and the income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. This can be as a result of market movements and also of variations in the exchange rates between currencies. Past performance is not a guide to future returns and may not be repeated.

Neither Sarasin & Partners LLP nor any other member of the J. Safra Sarasin Holding Ltd group accepts any liability or responsibility whatsoever for any consequential loss of any kind arising out of the use of this document or any part of its contents. The use of this document should not be regarded as a substitute for the exercise by the recipient of his or her own judgment.  Sarasin & Partners LLP and/or any person connected with it may act upon or make use of the material referred to herein and/or any of the information upon which it is based, prior to publication of this document.

© 2023 Sarasin & Partners LLP – all rights reserved. This document can only be distributed or reproduced with permission from Sarasin & Partners LLP.

Please contact [email protected].

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This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than US persons. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

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This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

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The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

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The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

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It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Access to this site
It may be unlawful to access or download the information contained on this website in certain jurisdictions and Sarasin and its affiliates disclaim all responsibility if you access or download any information from this website in breach of any law or regulation of the UK, the jurisdiction in which you are residing or domiciled or the jurisdiction from which you access the website.

If you are acting as a financial adviser or intermediary, you agree to access this website only for the purposes for which you are permitted to do so under applicable law.

What you should know about the site’s content
The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies
This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for UK residents only and not for distribution outside the UK. If you are not a UK resident, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for UK resident charities only and not for distribution outside the UK. If you are not a UK resident charity, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for UK residents who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for UK residents who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue to US persons by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for US persons only and not for distribution to non-US persons. If you are not a US person, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than US persons. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue to US persons by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for US persons who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution to non-US persons and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than US persons. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for South African residents only and not for distribution outside the South Africa. If you are not a South African resident, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed

It is not for distribution outside South Africa and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for South Africa residents who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside South Africa and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

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