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Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

PRI reporting framework 2020

You are in Strategy and Governance » Objectives and strategies

Objectives and strategies

SG 05. RI goals and objectives

05.1. Indicate if and how frequently your organisation sets and reviews objectives for its responsible investment activities.

05.2. Additional information. [Optional]

Our objectives for our responsible investment activities are reviewed at Board level.


SG 06. Main goals/objectives this year

06.1. List the main responsible investment objectives that your organisation set for the reporting year.

Responsible investment processes

Key performance indicator

          Share our learning with other responsible investors.
        

Progress achieved

We spoke at:

  • The Civil Society Trustee Exchange conference held in April 2019 about how the Trust uses its investments to help achieve its wider mission.
  • The Responsible Europe 2019 conference on in June 2019 on the increase in technology and its implications for responsible investors.
  • The Church Investors Group members meeting in June 2019 on why the Trust decided to divest from fossil fuels.
  • An Association of Charitable Foundation's (ACF) investment seminar panel in July 2019  about some of the practical issues involved in implementing responsible  investment strategies.
  • The Europe Foundations Finance and Investment Officers group meeting in October 2019 on responsible investment.

We had an article published in Charity Finance on the Landmark Ruling Coalition which is seeking a judgment which goes beyond the Bishop of Oxford case and asks that charities must take ESG into account when investing.

 

 

 

Key performance indicator

          Share information on our ESG activities with trustees and staff.
        

Progress achieved

Investment Committee reports back on its activities to the full board at least twice a year. In addition regular report backs are made to the staff group allowing the cross fertilisation of ideas between our investment staff and our grants staff. This is particularly important since much of our direct ESG work is informed by our grant-making.

Key performance indicator

          Improve how we hold our fund managers to account on their voting.
        

Progress achieved

In 2018 we started a programme of engagement with our fund managers to determine how best they can report their voting information to us in a manageable but meaningful way. This work was extended to include other authorities in 2019 and is currently being finalised. Internally we expect that this work will allow us to engage with our managers more effectively on their voting behaviour in 2019 and going forward. Externally we hope that, by sharing our work, we will be able to improve the quality of monitoring of manager voting by charitable foundations and others.

Key performance indicator

          Share our concerns about non-mainstream ESG matters with our fund managers and others.
        

Progress achieved

During the year we had a meeting with each of our managers which focused almost exclusively on ESG matters.  In particular we:

  • Revisited their ESG integration processes.
  • Asked them about their general engagement and voting activities.
  • Spoke about specific issues of concern (gender balance in the fund management industry, corporate tax and responsible investment issues around technology).
  • Spoke about specific companies of concern (including Informa).
  • Spoke about particular regions of concern (including Palestine).
  • Spoke about specific sectors of concern (extractive industries).

Financial performance of investments

Key performance indicator

          Outperformance of our composite MSCI World and FTSE ASI benchmark by investing through sustainable funds.
        

Progress achieved

We independently verified the performance of our portfolio as at 31 July 2019, At that point we had outperformed our composite benchmark by 2.2% p.a. over the last three years and by 3.6% over the last  five years, 

ESG characteristics of investments

Key performance indicator

          Exclude companies from our portfolio which are materially involved in armaments, gambling, tobacco, new generation nuclear power production and fossil fuel extraction.
        

Progress achieved

Usually we are fully divested from companies which are materially involved in armaments, gambling, tobacco, new generation nuclear power production and fossil fuel extraction. However, in June 2018 Informa merged with UBM  and, as a result, acquired a small number of arms exhibitions. Any involvement in armaments is unacceptable to us and we have ben engaging with two of our fund managers who have a holding in the company to seek a resolution to this issue. 

Key performance indicator

          Compare the carbon footprint of our portfolio year on year to identify how we are progressing in terms of reducing our carbon impact.
        

Progress achieved

We have continued to monitor and report on the carbon footprint of our fund managers through the Montreal Carbon Pledge. 

Other activities

Key performance indicator

          Participate in responsible investment initiatives.
        

Progress achieved

In 2019 we participated in the following collaborations:

  • The Investor Decarbonisation Initiative (via ShareAction).
  • The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (via ShareAction).
  • CDP's non-disclosure campaign.
  • Stewart Investors' letters to companies about plastic pellets, flakes and powders and micro-insurance.
  • CERES FAIRR's letters to quick service restaurants about de-risking meat and dairy supply chains.
  • Investor letters asking companies to respond to As You Sow’s survey on the environmental attributes of their product packaging. 

We signed onto the following:

  • A letter to the G20 urging it to end fossil fuel subsidies (via IIGCC).
  • A letter to the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth asking that the community energy sector is heard during energy policy design (via Friends Provident Foundation).
  • An investor statement on deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon calling on companies to redouble their efforts and demonstrate clear commitment to eliminating deforestation within their operations and supply chains, (via PRI).
  • An open letter to European Leaders ahead of the October 2019 European Council asking for a net-zero emissions target for the EU, to be achieved by 2050 at the latest, and the alignment of all relevant EU legislation to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement (via IIGCC).

 

Key performance indicator

          Stimulate interest among other foundations in responsible investment.
        

Progress achieved

  • We served on the Board of the Church Investors Group
  • We contributed to the ACF’s Stronger Foundations Intentional Investing Working Group. Stronger Foundations is a flagship two-year ACF project, which aims to help charitable foundations and grant-making trusts identify and pursue excellent practice. Our hope is that our work will encourage other foundations to pick up the impact investing mantle.
  • We served on the Steering Group of the Landmark Ruling Coalition and encouraged other charities to join it.

06.2. Additional information.


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