What it takes to be an effective sustainability advocate
In the Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity Team, we champion sustainability every day. It takes authenticity and a desire to take part in resolving real world issues to make any meaningful dent in environmental and social challenges.
An avid follower of any news, reports and other information on sustainability, I see the environmental and social woes of the world around me. Yet I am fortunate enough to be able to do something positive to effect real change while striving to deliver good returns for my clients.
As Head of Global Sustainable Equity, overseeing the firm’s A$4.7 billion* Global Sustainable Equity Strategy, my team and I can exert an influence via the strategy’s investment process by allocating capital towards companies that are playing a positive role in the transformation of the global economy – and avoiding investing those which do harm. This is not a new perspective for the strategy, as it has been operating with these principles since 1991.
Being an advocate on sustainability matters does not mean a confrontational relationship with companies. Instead, the strategy’s investment principles can lead to partnerships with the companies it invests in, where we can work with management on its continual improvement and sustainability journey.
Take our engagement on net zero carbon for example.
With low carbon investing central to our philosophy, the Global Sustainable Equity Strategy joined the Net Zero Carbon 10 initiative. The initiative sets ambitious yet achievable targets for carbon reduction to help prevent the disastrous and irreversible consequences of climate change.
This enables investment managers to better align their investment policies to the requirement for carbon neutrality, rather than just emissions reduction. The approach focuses on net zero emissions based on scope one, two and three emissions.
We have since found that beginning this initiative has led to more focused discussions with companies that have begun a low-carbon journey but do not have a target to achieve neutrality by 2030. This engagement has been positively received, strengthening our relationships and dialogue with the companies we invest in.
All this doesn’t come easily. Having a positive impact on the wider economy is only possible by moving past just analysing companies. One must engage and collaborate with firms, colleagues and even sometimes competitors to ensure positive outcomes for people and the planet, all with the intention of making a profit.
*As at 30 June 2021.
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