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Responsible investment - more than just exclusions.

When people think about responsible investment, many think it is about excluding companies and industries that harm people or the environment.

 

“Exclusions are an important part of responsible investment” says ANZ Investments Managing Director Fiona Mackenzie. “But they are just the starting point.”

 

“As well as avoiding investments in certain harmful activities, we use our influence to actively engage with the companies we invest in to encourage them to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their decision making.”

 

It is one of the reasons why a number of ANZ Investments’ funds have just gained certification from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).

 

“RIAA champions responsible investing and a sustainable financial system” says Ms Mackenzie.

 

“It is the world’s longest-running responsible investment certification program.

 

“We think the certification of our funds by RIAA will provide confidence to investors that ANZ Investments incorporates responsible investment, including ESG factors, throughout our investment process.”

 

The certified funds must disclose a number of elements including their engagement and voting strategies.

 

All funds within the ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme have been certified by RIAA, with the exception of the cash fund. Cash funds are not currently eligible for RIAA certification.

 

“We are committed to responsible investment. We believe it is in the best long-term interests of society and our investors” says Paul Huxford, ANZ Investments’ Chief Investment Officer.

 

“We also believe it is important to be transparent about our approach to responsible investment.”

 

ANZ Investments has launched an online dashboard where people can see how its portfolio managers (and external fund managers) voted on issues such as companies’ climate transition strategies, election of directors to company boards, executive pay and company disclosures.

 

The dashboard shows how ANZ Investments voted at each meeting; along with information about the geographies the companies are based in and the industries in which they are involved.

 

“We hope that by putting the dashboard online we can encourage investors to take a greater interest in the way we apply responsible investment considerations” says Mr Huxford.

 

As well as the voting dashboard, ANZ Investments also publish a regular stewardship update on its website. This contains case studies of engagement with companies both in New Zealand and overseas on a range of topics including climate change, biodiversity, and human rights.

 

“As an example, one of our external managers engaged with a Real Estate Investment Trust about its plans for carbon reductions, carbon targets and physical risk assessments” says Mr Huxford.

 

“The manager will continue to monitor progress including initiatives to achieve the carbon reduction target.”

 

“Another manager is working with a well-known global hardware and software company around its reporting of workplace diversity and inclusion. Disclosure is an important first step when looking to address key risks like this.”

 

ANZ New Zealand Investments Limited is the issuer and manager of the ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme, OneAnswer KiwiSaver Scheme and ANZ Default KiwiSaver Scheme.  A copy of the ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme and OneAnswer KiwiSaver Scheme guide and product disclosure statement is available at anz.co.nz.  The ANZ Default KiwiSaver Scheme is closed to new members.  This news release is for information only.

 

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