Our approach to responsible investment

Our beliefs

The trustee’s investment beliefs constitute the investment philosophy of the scheme and guide the investment of UniSaver’s assets. One of these beliefs is that responsible investment can reduce risk and impact returns positively. We also recognise the increasing impact on climate change as an investment risk. You can read more about our investment beliefs in our statement of investment policy and objectives [PDF, 103 KB].

Our policy

Our policy includes not investing in companies involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, nuclear explosive devices and tobacco.

We have adopted a policy on responsible investment in line with our investment beliefs and to avoid reputational risk for the scheme’s sponsors. Our policy is that we will:

  • seek to avoid, where practical, investment in companies whose activities are materially contrary to the intent of New Zealand legislation – these activities currently include cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, nuclear explosive devices and tobacco
  • require our investment manager Russell Investments to be a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
  • require the investment manager to incorporate environmental, social and governance considerations (ESG) into its investment process, with the trustee receiving regular reporting on these considerations.
  • require the investment manager to address climate change risk specifically as a component of ESG considerations, and to provide the trustee with regular reporting on the carbon intensity of the scheme’s portfolios.

Consistent with our investment belief on climate change as an increasingly significant investment risk, we have determined that approximately half of the scheme’s global share portfolio be invested in a strategy which reduces exposure to carbon and to fossil fuel reserves and increases exposure to companies with a high responsible investment rating and to those participating in the transition to renewable energy.

Principles for responsible investment

Russell Investments manages the portfolio, selects the managers within each asset class and monitors investment performance. Russell Investments is a signatory to the United Nations-supported PRI. These are the six principles:

  • We will incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
  • We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
  • We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
  • We will promote acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry.
  • We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles.
  • We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles.

Read more about the PRI [external link].

Russell Investments’ approach and philosophy

Russell Investments believes that active ownership of investments is not just an obligation – it is part of the value creation process. Russell Investments has been voting at shareholder meetings for over 20 years, evolving its voting policies and practices alongside various developments in regulations and principles. All Russell Investments’ active ownership activities are based on two cornerstones:

  • Protect and/or enhance shareholder value.
  • Protect and/or enhance minority shareholder rights.

The company believes it is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of company management and exerting influence on corporate governance, social and environmental practices through the exercise of proxy voting rights and engagement activities.

Russell Investments incorporates responsible investing practices in its manager evaluation process, portfolio management, advisory services and portfolio implementation. Russell Investments' investment process is informed by a series of beliefs, which are detailed in Our Responsible Investing Practices [PDF, 4.7 MB].