Changing course: how to steer your career in a new direction
Falling out of love with your career? Perhaps it’s time for an about-face.
Every year, about seven million people die from tobacco-related illnesses worldwide. By the end of the century, it’s estimated that the total number of early deaths caused by tobacco will reach a staggering one billion.2
In Australia, initiatives like public health campaigns and the increased taxation of smoking have helped raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco and encouraged more and more people to quit smoking.3 But more needs to be done – and the finance sector has a crucial role to play in the fight. So, with our customers’ support, Colonial First State has joined in the global movement against the hazards of tobacco.
In October 2018 we signed the United Nations (UN) endorsed Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge to support tobacco-free investments. The pledge is part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It aims to reduce tobacco’s damaging impact on society and the environment, and create a tobacco-free world for future generations.
By signing the pledge, we’ve made a commitment to stop holding investments, or make any new investments, in companies that are associated with tobacco production. By 2020, we expect that we’ll have fully divested from the tobacco industry altogether.
Our decision to sign the pledge has been recognised by Dr Bronwyn King, CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios, founder of the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge in collaboration with the Union Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and other major global organisations.4
“I’m thrilled to see one of Australia’s largest retail funds join the global movement towards tobacco-free finance,” Dr King said. “It’s great to see a leading brand like Colonial First State distance itself from tobacco.”
Our commitment to this pledge goes beyond investing. We’ll also actively help raise awareness of the issues related to investing in and insuring tobacco companies. And we’ll encourage other lending, investment and insurance businesses to adopt tobacco-free finance policies.
We believe that responsible investing includes listening to our customers’ concerns. Increasingly, you’re telling us you want investments that aren’t just financially profitable – you want to make sure they also benefit our society and the environment. We’ve listened to your concerns and are making changes to the way we invest. Since April 2017 we’ve been following the Principles for Responsible Investment, which involves considering the environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in every investment we make. Together with the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge, this is a way in which we can help create a better world for the next generation.
1 Tobacco Free Portfolios website
2 UN EPFI, The Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge
3The Cancer Council Victoria, Tobacco-control campaigns in Australia: experience, August 20114
4UN EPFI, The Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge