We are a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), a United Nations-supported framework which provides aspirational global criteria for responsible investing.
As a signatory to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment, we are committed to these six principles which provide guidelines for institutions on incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into their investment processes:
- incorporating ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes
- being active owners and incorporating ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices
- seeking appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest
- promoting acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry
- working together with other signatories to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles
- reporting on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles
- Further information on UNPRI’s reporting methodology is available on the UNPRI website at www.unpri.org
We prefer investment opportunities in companies that can generate long-term shareholder returns and provide substantial environmental or social benefits.
There are some industries, companies or practices that do not have a place in a long-term sustainable society. We exclude these from our investment universe.
We encourage company boards and management to improve their ESG credentials.
We employ a Blacklist where certain industries, companies, and practices will be avoided. The Blacklist is maintained by the Investment Committee and is available on our website. Where we invest into securities directly, we will not invest in these Blacklisted industries or companies.
Some companies can make positive ESG contributions and provide enhanced long-term shareholder returns. We actively seek out these investments in a process known as positive screening. Passing through the positive screen does not guarantee inclusion into any portfolio, any potential investment must still meet our stringent investment criteria. The Positive Screen is maintained by the Investment Committee and is available on our website.
ESG research forms an integral part of the research process. Research is tailored to the category of the investment opportunity. Ratings must be high, or we must see a pathway for improvement.
Direct investment that we categorise as “Quality” must have a high ESG rating.
The ESG factors we consider include:
- Environmental: factors relating to pollution, hazardous waste, energy or resource usage, climate change, green technologies or water management.
- Social: factors relating to human rights, ethical or indigenous relationships, health and safety, diversity, social programs or charitable endeavours.
- Governance: factors such as bribery or corruption, transparency, alignment, board structure, executive compensation or voting procedures.
We use our position as representatives of our investors to influence positive ESG behaviours and outcomes.
We will work with regulators, the investment management community and investee companies to develop consistently reportable metrics on factors such as carbon footprint, water use, waste and pollution, employee diversity and labour standards.
If an ESG issue is deemed to be material, we will start a formal engagement process. In determining materiality, we consider potential costs that may come from ESG factors such as social or environmental impacts that may not be captured in traditional financial reporting.
The decision to formally engage is made by the portfolio managers on advice from the analyst.
Our engagement process involves:
- formal declaration of our concern to the company noting how it might impact the long-term prospects of the company
- assessment and record keeping of the engagement
- consideration of exercising our right to submit items to the agenda at the AGM and appoint alternative directors to effect change
- consideration of exiting the holding.
- If appropriate, we will consider collaborating with other shareholders whose interests are aligned with ours.
Where possible we will use our voting rights to influence positive ESG outcomes. If there is a potential conflict of interest in direction of proxy voting, our Conflicts of Interests Policy will apply. We will maintain a record of voting.
Where we appoint sub-managers to make investment decisions on our behalf, we expect their process to be aligned with our own. Where we identify deficiencies, we engage with those managers in the same manner as we would with management, or the boards, of our direct holdings.
Stocks, sectors, or industries that are blacklisted
- manufacturers of cluster munitions, anti-personnel landmines, chemical, biological or nuclear weapons
- manufacturers of components that have been developed, or modified for, the exclusive use of cluster munitions, anti-personnel landmines, chemical, biological or nuclear weapons
- companies involved in the production and retailing of automatic and semiautomatic civilian firearms
- manufacturers of tobacco products
- any business that derives more than 50% of revenues from the distribution, packaging, or retailing of tobacco products
- companies involved in the capture of whales or the processing of whale meat
- Sectors and Industries where we actively seek out opportunities.
- renewable energy
- carbon neutral technology
- carbon reduction technology
- clean energy production
- emission reduction technology