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Australian Ethical Investment Ltd.

PRI reporting framework 2019

You are in Strategy and Governance » Governance and human resources

Governance and human resources

SG 07. RI roles and responsibilities

07.1. Indicate the internal and/or external roles used by your organisation, and indicate for each whether they have oversight and/or implementation responsibilities for responsible investment.

Roles

Select from the below internal roles

          Head of Ethics Research
        

07.2. For the roles for which you have RI oversight/accountability or implementation responsibilities, indicate how you execute these responsibilities.

Ethical aspects of the investment process are overseen by our Ethical Advisory Group (EAG). The EAG’s responsibilities include development and ongoing review of policies and systems implementing the Ethical Charter. For example, the EAG approves frameworks which govern how the principles of our Ethical Charter are applied to different industry sectors and key ethical issues such as human rights and animal welfare. The EAG also sets priorities for our advocacy and engagement activities, and resolves any contentious ethical issues regarding specific investments (current or prospective).

The EAG comprises our Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and Head of Ethics Research, with external input as appropriate. The Head of Ethics Research reports to the board quarterly on responsible investment activities including activity of the EAG. This board reporting includes updates on new or revised frameworks and policies adopted to implement the Charter as well as ethical assessments for individual companies and ethical engagement and advocacy activity.

Before an investment is made or an external manger is appointed, they are assessed for alignment with the Ethical Charter. The CIO can authorise a limit when they are satisfied the investment is aligned with the Ethical Charter. Our internal ethics research team comprises our Head of Ethics Research and two Ethics Analysts. They conduct the ethical assessment and review of potential and current investments as well as any external managers and funds, with the input of the applicable portfolio manager and investment analyst from our investment team. Our Ethical Charter requires us to assess the impacts on people, animals and the environment of a company's products and services (including impacts from the way those products and services are produced, supplied, consumed and disposed of). This process draws on data and analysis from company, industry, government, responsible investment, broker, scientific and civil society sources. This broad and deep research of short and long term social and environmental impacts of companies and sectors builds a more complete understanding of the prospects and risks of the companies and sectors in our universe. As well as defining a sustainable investment universe, this enables more impactful engagement with companies. For our ‘active-fundamental’ equities portfolios, this research also contributes to the way that ESG considerations are integrated into our financial evaluation or portfolio weighting of companies.

In addition to the initial ethical screening, all investments undergo periodic ethical review. If any serious issues are detected through the review process Australian Ethical will engage with the company with a view to resolving the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved and is sufficiently serious we will divest.

Engagement and advocacy on ESG issues is conducted by members of the ethics research and/or investment team, selected as appropriate for the applicable issue and company.

07.3. Indicate the number of dedicated responsible investment staff your organisation has.

11 Number

07.4. Additional information. [Optional]

I confirm I have read and understood the Accountability tab for SG 07 I confirm I have read and understood the Accountability tab for SG 07

SG 07 CC. Climate-issues roles and responsibilities

07.5 CC. Indicate the roles in the organisation that have oversight, accountability and/or management responsibilities for climate-related issues.

Board members or trustees

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Investment Committee

Other Chief-level staff or head of department

Dedicated responsible investment staff

External managers or service providers

07.6 CC. For board level roles for which have climate-related issues oversight/accountability or implementation responsibilities, indicate how these responsibilities are executed.

Implementation of our Ethical Charter in our investment activities is overseen by our Ethical Advisory Group (EAG), comprising our Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and Head of Ethics Research. The board of directors in turn has oversight of the activities of the EAG through quarterly reporting of the activity of the EAG. (Refer indicator SG 07.2 for further information.)

Implementation of our Ethical Charter requires detailed assessment of the impacts of climate change on people, animals and the environment, which in turn affects the way we invest including through negative and positive screening, engagement and advocacy, and climate performance measurement and reporting (refer indicators SG 01.6 CC to 1.10CC for further information).

The board monitors and contributes to the way we address climate related issues in the following ways:

  1. The ethics reporting to the board includes details of the work of the EAG reviewing climate relevant sectors, issues and engagement and advocacy priorities. For example this has included the EAG’s periodic review of our energy, banking and food sector frameworks and setting of our net zero emissions target. Where significant changes are under consideration, these are reported to the board ahead of finalisation of changes by the EAG. The board actively scrutinises these changes and board insights inform the work of the EAG. Finalised changes are also reported to the board.
  2. Our annual company strategy process involves the board in strategy formulation, review and final approval. Our strategy development and review takes account of key issues affecting our business, investments and stakeholders, and climate change is consistently among the most important key issues considered.
  3. The board reviews, provides input into and approves the company’s annual reporting, which includes detailed reporting of the climate performance of our investment activities.

The ethics research team and EAG engages with climate experts including scientific and industry climate experts in implementing our Ethical Charter in a world facing dangerous climate change. Where appropriate we arrange joint briefings of board and management by climate experts.

07.7 CC. For the management-level roles that assess and manage climate-related issues, provide further information on the structure and process involved.

Implementation of our Ethical Charter in our investment activities is overseen by our Ethical Advisory Group (EAG), comprising our Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and Head of Ethics Research. Implementation of our Ethical Charter requires detailed assessment of the impacts of climate change on people, animals and the environment, which in turn affects the way we invest including through negative and positive screening, engagement and advocacy, and climate performance measurement and reporting. (Refer indicators SSG 01.6 CC to 1.10CC for further information.) This work is performed by our ethics research team.

Some examples of climate related matters actively considered and approved by the EAG include:

  1. Review of our screening approach for emissions intensive frameworks, including energy, property, transport and food frameworks.
  2. Review of our screening approach for sectors which are key facilitators of action which may mitigate or exacerbate climate change. For example, the EAG reviewed and approved our 2 degree climate alignment criteria applied to investment in the banking sector.
  3. Setting of climate related engagement and advocacy priorities.
  4. Review of development of climate performance metrics and targets for our investments and engagement and advocacy.

Our ethics research team monitors existing and emerging ethical risks (including climate-related risks) using diverse company, industry, government, responsible investment, scientific, civil society and news sources. The team assesses whether these developments require review of our existing ethical assessments of companies and industry sectors, including our company engagement priorities. The work of the ethics research team is overseen by the EAG and in turn the Board. Our carbon footprinting and below 2 degree alignment checks help us test the effectiveness of our management of climate risk. 

07.8 CC. Explain how the organisation engages external investment managers on the TCFD recommendations and its implementation.


SG 08. RI in performance management, reward and/or personal development

08.1. Indicate if your organisation’s performance management, reward and/or personal development processes have a responsible investment element.

Board members/Board of trustees

08.1b. RI in personal development and/or training plan

08.2. Describe any activities undertaken during the reporting year to develop and maintain Board members’ skills and knowledge in relation to responsible investment.

The Board discusses the Company’s application of the Ethical Charter in our investment process at every board meeting (other than ad hoc or special purpose meetings with very limited agendas). This includes discussion with the Head of Ethics Research and Chief Investment Officer of ethical reviews of individual companies and of new ethical frameworks for industry sectors or issues.  Individual directors may also attend responsible investment related conferences and seminars.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Investment Committee

08.1a. RI in objectives, appraisal and/or reward

08.1b. RI in personal development and/or training plan

Other C-level staff or head of department

          Head of Ethics Research
        

08.1a. RI in objectives, appraisal and/or reward

08.1b. RI in personal development and/or training plan

Dedicated responsible investment staff

08.1a. RI in objectives, appraisal and/or reward

08.1b. RI in personal development and/or training plan

08.3. Provide any additional information on your organisation’s performance management, reward and/or personal development processes in relation to responsible investment.


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