I was excited recently to attend Philanthropy New Zealand’s biennial Summit which hosted the country’s largest gathering of leaders involved with philanthropy. The theme was ‘Innovate for Impact’ and focused on the increasingly crucial role of innovation in the success of organisations and communities.
The Summit covered a huge variety of topics – ranging from innovative trends in philanthropy to impact investing – but one of the key out-takes for me was the way that this summit has grown over the years and the number of people in this country doing good for so many New Zealanders.
I see a clear trend in terms of organisations wanting to work together more collaboratively to create greater impact with their giving and a bigger shift in society. There seems to be a strong desire for organisations to be more transparent about their giving and governance, along with an increased focus on being able to share with stakeholders the impact that their giving has had on a project or sector. Overall, there is clearly an increased interest in impact or social investing, as well as a genuine desire by organisations to have a responsible investment philosophy and to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their investment process.
As a key partner of Philanthropy New Zealand and this event, AMP Capital was delighted to be involved in one of the Summit’s afternoon breakout sessions. Together with Dr Ian Woods, AMP Capital’s Head of ESG Research, we ran an interactive session which looked at aligning investments with an organisation’s mission.
There’s an increasing appetite from individuals and organisations looking to align their investments to their values and beliefs. The question is, how do you get started? Our session covered some of the key questions to consider and the issues involved in establishing a policy framework within an organisation.
This involved getting attendees to think about the investment objectives and issues specific to their organisation, such as the balance between income and growth, return expectations, and their appetite for risk, and we then explored some of the options for integrating ESG issues into the investment decision-making process. For example, when investing responsibly organisations have the option to decide whether to invest or divest, facilitate change through engagement, work with managers whose philosophy aligns with their own, as well as ensure managers are accountable for integrating ESG considerations.
The feedback from this session was very positive, with attendees leaving with a clearer idea of some of the practical steps involved in establishing and executing a responsible investment policy within their organisations. For individual investors, if you are clear on your values there’s an increasing range of responsible investment options available, including KiwiSaver funds. That way you can ensure your money is directed toward companies that are making a positive social and environmental impact, such as investments in community finance and clean technology, and away from those that cause harm, for example tobacco manufacturers.
Investing responsibly is different for everyone, but it was great to be able to share some of AMP Capital’s expertise and long experience in responsible investment, and encourage more proactive management of ESG issues. If you would like a copy of the presentation click here or to learn more about responsible investing visit our website.
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