USS has secured board positions at most investee infrastructure assets. Through participation on the board, where appropriate the scheme receives regular updates on the financial performance, risks and ESG activities at investee assets. Information may be received informally via discussions and emails, and formally through board papers and board meetings. Board meetings tend to be held on at least a quarterly basis.
The board will consider strategy, implementation, risk management and alignment of executives. In doing so, USS staff receive reports from management and/or external sources on ESG issues such as remuneration, environmental management and performance, health and safety performance, union relations, human resources, internal controls, regulatory and other stakeholder issues and governance structures.
Environmental and social issues are frequently a standing issue at board meetings for infrastructure assets. A number of the scheme's infrastructure assets are ISO 14001 and ISO 18001 certified providing externally verified frameworks for the management of environmental and health and safety risks respectively. Adherence to standards on ESG related issues may also form part of the terms for the concession agreement with the board overseeing the establishment of KPI's and targets relating to ESG issues where appropriate.
The investment and RI teams also participate in on-site visits to monitor investee assets, meet management and deliver oversight to executives post-investment. For example, as noted above, members of the RI team and the Property team's sustainability manager have visited several of the scheme's infrastructure assets to discuss ESG matters with management. These reviews cover matters such as pollution control, energy efficiency, the impacts of climate change regulations and human capital management.
Additionally, one of the scheme's infrastructure investments was the first asset to be reviewed under the more systematic ESG monitoring review process introduced in 2017 with findings discussed at the Private Markets Group, Portfolio Review Committee (PRC) meetings. The process is outlined in INF01 with the case study outlined in INF18.