ESG integration

Protecting and growing your super

ESG issues are often deeply intertwined with business and financial issues.

Monitoring and managing ESG risks allow us to influence how companies are managed and operate so we can make better risk-based decisions to protect and grow our investments — and your retirement savings.

 

Our approach to ESG risks

We consider ESG risks, impacts and opportunities at every step of our investment process, including how we choose, manage, and maintain our investments.

We seek to enhance the value and long-term viability of our investments by engaging with investee companies to improve their ESG credentials and outcomes. 

We can also reduce ESG risk by minimising or avoiding exposure in specific sectors, such as tobacco production and fossil fuel-dependent industries.

Engagement and advocacy

As a large investor, it’s our responsibility to advocate for good corporate governance to improve the ESG performance and long-term value of the companies we invest in. 

Engagement

We actively engage with investee companies to promote positive ESG outcomes. This involves discussing ESG issues with company operators and using our position to positively influence practices and performance. 

There are two ways we engage with companies: 

  • through our investment managers, who engage with companies on our behalf
  • as a member of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (UNPRI), who advocate and engage with company management on behalf of investors

Voting

Owning shares in a company or other asset comes with voting rights. We have a responsibility to exercise these rights in your best interest and resolve to vote on all issues that we’re entitled to. 

While we retain autonomy over how we vote, we often work collaboratively with ACSI — an expert advisor on ESG matters — and vote in line with their recommendations. This approach allows us to pool our voting power with like-minded investors and gives us greater influence over how companies manage ESG risks and outcomes. 

Below is a summary of our voting record in the Australian equity market:

Class actions

Class actions allow shareholders to collectively claim losses against a company that resulted from a breach of corporate regulations and poor governance practices. 

We engage in class actions:

  • as a last resort governance mechanism
  • as a cost-effective way to recover member losses caused by a company’s poor conduct
  • to improve governance standards in the market.

Managing climate change 

We believe climate change is a real and tangible risk to our portfolio and the sustainability and liveability of our communities. We have two priorities when it comes to dealing with climate change:

  • supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • managing climate change risk 

Climate change considerations

Climate change considerations are an integral part of our investment decision-making processes and inform our overall investment strategy and philosophy. 

Climate change issues we consider when making investment decisions include: 

  • the physical impact of climate change on investments from weather change, including acute weather events and changing weather patterns
  • changes to the regulatory environment because of climate change, including the pricing of carbon to limit the effects of climate change
  • substitutional and technological change because of regulatory and physical changes to weather and the climate

Working together to tackle climate change

We work with like-minded organisations and initiatives to address climate change issues in industry policies and processes. Key partnerships include:

  • Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) 
  • Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures 
  • Climate Action 100+ initiative

Industry collaboration

We work with like-minded investors to influence change on key ESG issues.

By collaborating with industry groups, we can have a greater influence on investment markets, regulatory frameworks, company activities and their long-term performance. 

Some of the industry groups we collaborate with include:

  • Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI)
  • United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (UNPRI)
  • Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA)
  • Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST)

Modern slavery policy

Modern slavery is a serious violation of a person's dignity and human rights and occurs where coercion, threats or deception are used to deprive individuals of their freedom.

Modern slavery includes human trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage and deceptive recruiting for labour or services. The Criminal Code sets out various offences for engaging in modern slavery.

We acknowledge that modern slavery is a growing and complex problem, best addressed by a collective commitment on the part of the business community to end all forms of modern slavery. As a participant in the Australian business community, we're committed to contributing to this common goal.

To find out more, read our Modern slavery policy.

You can also read our 2020-21 Modern slavery statement.

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