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Gresham House plc

PRI reporting framework 2020

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Promoting responsible investment

SG 09. Collaborative organisations / initiatives

09.1. Select the collaborative organisation and/or initiatives of which your organisation is a member or in which it participated during the reporting year, and the role you played.

Select all that apply

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

Gresham House became a signatory of the UNPRI in February 2018.

In November 2019, Sean Allen from PRI kindly agreed to have an in-person meeting at the Gresham Offices to cover PRI reporting and other general updates, noting the transitional change for the 2021 reporting year focusing less on process and more on real life impact. We took note of feedback received that as an organisation we appeared to have successfully satisfied requirements from a policy, dedicated resource, board level sponsorship perspective and that we were making the right steps in developing our plans for reporting. Upon Sean's recommendation, we attended the UN PRI Forum conference in February 2020 to understand the latest responsible investment trends and practices.

In late 2019, we held a "Forestry Teach in" - an educational session to discuss the asset class and its environmental benefits. We included a speaker from the UNPRI (Simon Whistler) and the event was hugely popular with client prospects in the Institutional space. Topics included: Forestry as a climate investment, carbon markets and government incentivisation to reduce emissions. The recording of the event is now available online: https://greshamhouse.com/forestry-teach-in/

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

We attended the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum in December 2019 last year titled "Corporate resilience: Challenges to shareowners covering the following topics:

  • National Grid's net zero commitment
  • Just Transition Initiative
  • Approach to energy transition
  • Cyber security
  • Management remuneration  
  • Climate Change Accounting
          We are a member as of August 2010 to the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association
        

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

As outlined by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, Gresham House is committed to growing sustainable and responsible finance in the UK for a fair, inclusive and sustainable financial system that works for the benefit of society and the environment. As such, we look to:

  • Contribute to UKSIF's policy and regulatory consultation responses
  • Promote our SRI products, services and intelligence to new audiences through public campaigns, events and ongoing communications
  • Attend regular member-only seminars and events throughout the year and share our expertise with key audiences
  • Keep up to date on proposed policy reforms across the industry 
  • Access knowledge on emerging issues material to investment performance and market growth from across finance, academia, politics and business
  • Join the UK sustainable industry voice that speaks to regulators, policymakers, individual and institutional investors and the public on sustainable and responsible finance issues

We continue to work with UKSIF to develop policy positions to boost the operating environment for sustainable investment as required including attending member-only events that raise awareness of key policy issues affecting the sustainable investment industry. 

 

          Pensions for Purpose
        

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting year (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

Pensions for Purpose is a collaborative initiative of impact managers, pension funds, social enterprises and other involved or interested in impact investment.The initiatives objective is to promote understanding of impact investment by effectively sharing news stories, blogs, case studies, academic research and thought leadership papers and acting as a first port of call for journalists seeking comment on impact investment-related issues.

Pensions for Purpose was founded by Karen Shackleton and Stephanie Windsor. They are supported by an Oversight Committee who meet quarterly and on which Gresham House has representation via the Head of Institutional Business. Gresham House has been an “influencer member” since 2018 and frequently submits articles on sustainability topics. A recent example focussed on the Private Rental Sector, addressing the shortfall of affordably priced rental accommodation for the key worker demographic - https://www.pensionsforpurpose.com/knowledge-centre/press/2019/04/16/Gresham-House-partnering-with-Rise-Homes-Gresham-House/. Other examples include thought pieces titled “Education will unlock the potential of social impact investing” and “Can investment returns be maintained alongside social and environmental objectives”.

          Forestry Stewardship Code
        

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting year (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

Gresham House's commercial forestry clients sign up to a Certification scheme, the largest of which in the UK is administered by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international membership association. It sets responsible forest management certification standards for the UK by inputting into the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, promotes the FSC system and issues trademark licences.

This is an internationally recognised certification scheme which ensures that forest management is carried out in a sustainable and auditable way and that it complies with all current legislation and environmental controls. As the largest UK Commercial Forestry manager, we ensure that all our forests are appropriately certified and in combination our bespoke ESG tools  and forestry management plans ensure we consider all appropriate environmental and social considerations, as well as climate change risk mitigation.

 

          Sponsored "Investing with Impact Summit" Conference, London 2019
        

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting year (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

In 2019, we sponsored the Investing with Impact Investing Conference ("Investing with Impact Summit") in London, where Gresham House Investment Director Ed Simpson presented on three sustainable investing themes: vertical farming, waste recycling and energy battery storage to several local government pension authorities and other asset managers.

The event aimed to shape the response of the pension fund sector to increase awareness of the opportunities presented by impact investing and was developed by DG Publishing in conjunction with Pensions for Purpose (see note above on). Topics addressed included:

  • Measuring impact
  • Introducing an impact strategy to a portfolio
  • Choosing an impact manager.

 


SG 09.2. Assets managed by PRI signatories (Not Applicable)


SG 10. Promoting RI independently

10.1. Indicate if your organisation promotes responsible investment, independently of collaborative initiatives.

10.2. Indicate the actions your organisation has taken to promote responsible investment independently of collaborative initiatives. Provide a description of your role in contributing to the objectives of the selected action and the typical frequency of your participation/contribution.

Description

          We held a "Forestry Teach in":
An educational session for investors to discuss UK forestry as an asset class and its potential financial and environmental benefits. We included a speaker from the UNPRI (Simon Whistler) who was very well received by the institutional audience. Topics included: Forestry as a climate investment, carbon markets and government incentivisation to reduce emissions. Following the session we recorded each of the speakers and then posted to our website. Our intention is to run similar sessions for other asset classes, and we are aiming to facilitate a similar event for Energy Battery Storage in Q2 2020. 
Gresham House began facilitating commercial forestry educational sessions in partnership with Bangor University 5 years ago to share our deep industry knowledge on the day-to-day management of commercial forestry. We have since held 9 events at clients’ forestry assets in both Scotland and Wales with an average attendance of around 65 students per event. In 2020, undergraduates visited Llandgela Forest in North Wales and discussed planning, management and implementation of UK commercial forestry, from forest design and species choice to harvesting methods and timber marketing. Postgraduates visited Billholm Forest (South Scotland) and shared knowledge of the management and constraints on UK commercial forestry and the important role it has to play in delivering climate targets. 

Findings from the site visits have also been used to inform PhD research. In one instance the project considered potential methods for improving the sustainability of timber value chains and received positive accreditation.
        

Frequency of contribution

Description

          As a specialist alternative asset management firm, sustainable investing is a key part of our business. We strive to achieve the highest standards across all our operations and are committed to integrating responsible business practices.
Gresham House continues to promote its own and the global sustainability agenda via publications on our website and via various social media outlets, most frequently via LinkedIn posts. Examples include circulating materials from several sustainable focused industry organisations, as well as our own sustainable investing related materials and case studies. 
Follow “Gresham House plc” on LinkedIn for further information. A recent example this year, is our Group CEO, Tony Dalwood's participation in a climate focused webcast ahead of Davos with CNBC - https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6625362674790223872
        

Frequency of contribution

specify description

          Community based Initiatives
        

Description

          Gresham’s New Energy team aim to engage with communities on sustainable related themes whenever possible. We are strong believers that planning conditions should be based on investing in good causes in the local area. As such, we are proud to support local community development projects across our wind farm portfolio with a contribution to date of over £300,000
These projects include environmental, archaeological and heritage preservation initiatives for example
        

Frequency of contribution

10.3. Describe any additional actions and initiatives that your organisation has taken part in during the reporting year to promote responsible investment [Optional]

Yes, we proactively engage with relevant stakeholders to identify and drive forward collaborative initiatives. For example, this year we have hosted educational breakfast briefings on forestry and battery storage which brought together industry representatives to discuss latest issues and trends. In addition we have an active ongoing involvement in Pensions for Purpose, with one of our directors sitting on their Oversight Committee.  We have also sponsored events such as the Impact Investing Conference (“Investing with Impact Summit”), where Investment Director Ed Simpson presented on three sustainable investing themes; vertical farming, waste recycling and energy battery storage to several local government authorities and other asset managers.Finally, Gresham House also continues to contribute to the wider sustainability debate through articles and thought pieces via several different platforms.


SG 11. Dialogue with public policy makers or standard setters (Private)


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