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Australian Communities Foundation named Responsible Investment Leader

Profile of Nicole Richards
Written by Nicole RichardsPosted on 8/9/2021

Launched on 1 September, the Responsible Investment Benchmark Report Australia 2021, produced in collaboration with KPMG, shows the market for responsible investments in Australia continued to soar in popularity to $1.2 trillion in 2020. Moreover, responsible investment assets are growing at 15 times the rate that overall Australian professionally managed investments have grown.

“This dramatic shift of capital is being fuelled by changing consumer expectations, strong financial performance and the rising materiality of different social and environmental issues – from climate change to racial inequity,” says Nicolette Boele, Executive, Policy and Standards for RIAA.

“It reflects the sustained effort made over many years as we have invested in building strong credentials and leading practice in this area.”

The Report reinforces that responsible investments make good financial sense.

In 2020, responsible investment funds performed on par with, or better than, the market, even though overall fund performance was down largely due to the impact of COVID-19 on economies worldwide. 

Being named a Responsible Investment Leader is yet another milestone in Australian Communities Foundation’s journey towards 100 per cent responsible investing. Earlier this year the organisation became the only foundation in Australia to be a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

“It’s fantastic for Australian Communities Foundation to be recognised as a Responsible Investment Leader in 2021,” says Michael Gilmore, Director and Chair of Australian Communities Foundation’s Investment Committee.

“It reflects the sustained effort made over many years as we have invested in building strong credentials and leading practice in this area.”

“Thanks to all who have been involved in this journey, especially members of the Investment Committee both past and present, supporting staff and to our investment adviser, Brightlight.”

Michael says the successful alignment of the organisation’s investments with its mission has been achieved with the help of like-minded supporters and partners.

“ACF is fortunate to have an energised group of staff, Directors and advisers who are aligned in their commitment to ensure the corpus is managed sustainably and in a way that leverages our impact across our communities,” Michael explains.

“Thanks to all who have been involved in this journey, especially members of the Investment Committee both past and present, supporting staff and to our investment adviser, Brightlight.”

-The RIAA report highlights that the gap between responsible investment leaders and others is particularly pronounced in the area of stewardship activity, the reporting of outcomes, and specific allocation of capital to target social and environmental outcomes.

There are rapid developments taking place across countries, regions and markets that are resetting expectations of responsible investment. New standards and regulations are moving the investment managers in the industry towards best standards of practice that contribute measurably to a more sustainable world, with Australia being no exception to this trend.

“As the market matures and retail investors continue to grow their understanding of the different responsible investing approaches available, more focus will apply on the substance of activity behind the label,” Michael says.

“This will accelerate the adoption of systematic approaches to ESG integration, risk management and stewardship and continue to grow the proportion of assets in the Responsible Leaders category.

“It will also be exciting to see more managers allocating capital in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and further aligning portfolios to support causes that retail investors are passionate about.”