Trust Waikato recognised by United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment

September 25, 2019

3 min read

The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment, has recognised Trust Waikato in an international leaders’ group of just 47, for demonstrating responsible investment excellence.

Of the 47 ‘leaders’ group’ members, two are from New Zealand: Trust Waikato and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. This is the report on the group and full list of member funds.

Trust Waikato was an early signatory to the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI), which provides guidelines for taking into account environmental, social and governance investment issues.

“We believe that responsible investing is essential to achieving significant, sustainable change for our communities,” says Dennis Turton, Chief Executive of Trust Waikato, “and we have made a genuine and concerted effort to progress responsible investing through our policies and practices”.

Through its Statement of Responsible Investment the Trust believes it has a responsibility to consider the negative and positive effects on society and the environment, of decisions made by the companies, institutions and governments in which it invests. This includes human rights and wellbeing, labour standards, sustainability and the environment, bribery and corruption, and appropriate governance structures and processes.

The Trust was selected into the leader’s group as a result of receiving an “A” score in the selection, appointment and monitoring module, in both listed equity or private equity.

Trust Waikato’s activity has included a commitment to responsible investment as part of the investment manager selection and appointment process. Investment management agreements also include formal responsible investment reporting requirements and fund managers are monitored regularly through written reports and in-person presentations to the Trust board. The Trust’s investment advisors meet with fund managers several times per year and address ESG[1] incorporation at these meetings.

The PRI Leaders’ Group 2019 showcases PRI signatories that excel specifically in this year’s theme: selection, appointment and monitoring of external managers. The evaluation focused specifically on listed equity and private equity, as these are the asset classes where the PRI has the most developed work on identifying good industry practice, and are most able to support signatories.

Fiona Reynolds the CEO of PRI says she “sincerely hopes that the Leaders’ Group can be an inspiration and a source of knowledge for other asset owners wishing to learn more about how they can ensure that their external investment managers align with their responsible investment beliefs”.

[1] ESG refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of an investment in a company or business, Environmental, Social and Governance