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Our journey to become a more responsible investor began in in 2015 with work that led to our Responsible Investment Framework. This has evolved and continues today with the renewal of our commitment in our Responsible Investment Policy. We continue to work towards providing you with the means for sustainable, long-term wealth protection and enhancement.


November 2016

Responsible Investment Framework


April 2017

Signed UN Principles of Responsible Investment


July 2017

Investment manager and customer surveys


May 2018

Launched alliance offering with Affirmative Investment Management


October 2018

Signed Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge


December 2018

Commitment to divest tobacco and controversial weapons producers


February 2019

Controversial weapons collaboration – letter to index providers


April 2019

Report to Principles of Responsible Investment


October 2019

Launched Global Stewardship fund with partner Baillie Gifford

December 2019

Fully divested from tobacco producers and controversial weapons manufacturers

April 2020

Report to Principles for Responsible Investment

May 2020

Signed PRI collaboration – Investor Statement on Coronavirus Response

June 2020

Became a member to Investor Group on Climate Change

August 2020

Assessment report from Principles for Responsible Investment

November 2020

Signed Investors Against Slavery and Trafficking Statement (IAST APAC)

December 2020

Lodged first Modern Slavery Statement (as part of Commonwealth Bank)

June 2021

Signed the 2021 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis

2020 Member survey

In our Responsible Investment Policy, we have committed to listening carefully to all sides of the conversation to deepen our understanding, and central to this is listening to our members.

 

We wanted to gauge our members’ understanding of responsible investment – what the term means, what issues are of most concern and whether or not there has been a change over the years. To do so, we conducted another member survey in 2020 to follow up on a previous survey in 2017.

 

Unsurprisingly, there continues to be a number of different opinions about responsible investing. While the majority (75%) of survey respondents associated responsible investing with ethical, environmental or socially positive behaviours, almost 1 in 4 people either believed ‘good’ companies would be taking care of this anyway or weren’t interested beyond the return of their investment.

Top priorities for our members

85%

want no landmines or nuclear weapons

59%

want no tobacco producers

69%

want no gambling

83%

want no native logging and deforestation

61%

want no fossil fuels

Illustrating the diversity of our members, just over 1 in 5 respondents saw the exclusion of certain industries as a top concern, while the same number claimed it was of little or no concern to them.

 

Just as there is no ‘typical’ member there is also a simplicity in these statements that needs further investigation. For instance, while 61% of respondents want no fossil fuels and over half want a shift to renewables, only 40% want carbon-neutral portfolios.

 

While we understand that members have their own personal moral or ethical views, we believe that in the long run, strong potential performance can be found where good investment management of ESG and climate risks are taken into consideration by companies which, as a result, will also improve long-term returns for members.

2020 Manager survey

In 2017, we asked our investment managers questions regarding their consideration of ESG factors in conjunction with the range of other risks and opportunities that may affect long-term investment outcomes. To stay across evolving issues within responsible investing and to recognise the evolving views of our managers, we recently revisited and updated this survey. This is helpful because it informs our view when researching and selecting investment strategies, appointing investment managers for our funds, as well as undertaking portfolio construction and allocating assets.

 

What we learned from the results

 

The results of the survey showed an increase in the number of our investment managers who said they were incorporating or considering ESG factors in some way – from 90% in 2017 to 97% in 2020. However, as in 2017, there was still a divergence in responses between global and local managers, and between smaller boutique managers and larger institutional managers. It may come as no surprise that larger managers are leading the integration of responsible investing practices, mainly due to their resourcing and influence.

 

Views are changing on responsible investment matters

 

One of the key takeaways from the survey was the large change in the consideration of climate change risk. In 2017, less than half of the investment managers surveyed said they considered climate change to be a risk to their investments, with only 18% measuring the carbon footprint of our portfolios. This has changed dramatically. Now, 96% of managers say they believe climate change is an investment risk, with more than half measuring the carbon footprint of our portfolios.

Manager survey Key points

99%

response rate (74 out of 76 managers)

97%

are integrating ESG into their investment process

>50%

are measuring carbon footprint of portfolios

96%

believe climate change is an investment risk

Disclaimer

Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFSIL) is the issuer of the FirstChoice range of super and pension products from the Colonial First State FirstChoice Superannuation Trust ABN 26 458 298 557. CFSIL also issues interests in products made available under FirstChoice Investments and FirstChoice Wholesale Investments. This document may include general advice but does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. The Target Market Determinations (TMD) for our financial products can be found at www.cfs.com.au/tmd and include a description of who a financial product is appropriate for. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) carefully, assess whether the information is appropriate for you, and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. The PDS and FSG can be obtained from www.cfs.com.au or by calling us on 13 13 36.