The University of Newcastle, Australia

Investing in businesses of tomorrow

Monday, 24 September 2018

Since 2015, UON has been working toward sustainable investment processes and practices to measure and improve the environmental and social impacts of our investment portfolio.

“Our environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives aim to ensure we are quite literally putting our money where our mouth is and investing in the sustainable industries and businesses of tomorrow,” Chief Financial Officer, Mr Paul Dunn said.

The University’s ESG objectives are to:

  • Only engage with investment managers who will integrate ESG into their investment processes and who report on their ESG annually.
  • Report on carbon footprint of listed equity funds
  • Exclude tobacco, cluster munitions and breaches of sanctions regimes
  • Exercise active ownership and stewardship through share voting
  • Support principles of good governance and company-level ESG risk disclosure
  • Support engagement through collaboration or direct engagement on ESG and climate change, including on policies, regulation and industry standards

“Our Investment Portfolio Plan moving forward is taking a Balanced Scorecard approach and contains a number of aggressive targets that we have been working with Mercer to flesh out what our overall measures and targets will be,” Paul said.

UON targets for 2020 are to:

  1. improve the weighted ESG Score of the portfolio by 25% by 2020, based on a 2017 baseline.
  2. reduce the Universities listed equity portfolio carbon footprint, as measured by WACI (Weighted Average Carbon index), by 25% by 2020 on a 2016 baseline.
  3. divest from fossil fuel companies that don’t meet our requirements for managing the transition to a low carbon economy, i.e. companies that fail the transition risk assessment with the goal of divesting from the holdings that pose an acute risk by 2020.
  4. aim to invest 10% of the portfolio in solutions to sustainability challenges, as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, by 2020.

“We recognise that the University, like many other large organisations, is in a position to drive change by making sure we are reaping investment rewards that are returning environmental and social benefits,” Paul said.

The University’s ESG Balanced Scorecard will be reported annually, if anyone would like further information please contact Financial Services.

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