To our valued clients and contacts,
We hope you are staying well and adjusting as well as possible to the challenges of this COVID-19 crisis.
We just wanted to let you know that, whilst the markets have been in turmoil, ESG remains as important a focus at Ethical Partners as always, and we strongly believe that there is a very important role for Responsible Investors to play in this crisis. The landscape of ESG is rapidly changing within this crisis, with new issues evolving, and old issues being amplified, and we are doing our best to learn how we can continue to advocate and engage on these issues in such a volatile and difficult market space.
To that effect, last week we signed on to the Investor Statement on Coronavirus Response.
Signing this statement affirms that we at Ethical Partners:
- recognise that the long-term viability of the companies in which we invest is inextricably tied to the welfare of their stakeholders, including their employees, suppliers, customers and the communities in which they operate.
- call on these management teams and boards of directors to join us in facing this unprecedented threat
- acknowledge that board directors are accountable for long term human capital management, and that the companies will be well served by having retained a well-trained and committed workforce when business operations are able to resume
- believe that this crisis poses grave risks to basic societal stability and the financial markets
- believe that maintaining business reputation, consumer confidence and the social licence to operate it is crucial for businesses to priorities the health and safety of both their workers and the public
To this end we are urging the companies we invest in, and the wider business community as a whole, to
(1) Provide paid leave, including to temporary, part-time, and subcontracted workers, in order to make social distancing and social isolation possible
(2) Prioritise health and safety, including shift management, remote work, enhanced protections, training, cleaning and closing locations as needed
(3) maintain employment by taking every step possible to retain workers and avoid unemployment, and be mindful of discrimination if layoffs are necessary
(4) maintain supplier and customer relationships as much as possible, maintaining timely payments to suppliers and working with customers facing financial challenges and working to ensure a stable supply chain is in place to resumer business operations where possible
(5) use financial prudence and the highest level of ethical financial management and responsibility during this crisis. This may mean suspending share buybacks, limiting executive and senior management compensation during this crisis
(6) Address other relevant issues such as :
- childcare assistance
- hazard pay
- assistance in accessing government support
- employer paid health insurance for laid off workers
- deploying resources to meet the crisis needs
We will be engaging on these, and other relevant issues as they present, with all the companies we invest in and analyse.
We look forward to sharing the results of these engagements and advocacy with you over time.
Sustainability Research & Advocacy
Tatrai Giving Fund Manager
The tragic human rights situation currently unfolding in Myanmar holds particular significance to our Sustainability Analyst Georgina. Please read Georgie’s poignant thoughts on her visit to the camp, our expectations on our portfolio companies in regard to Myanmar, and why Ethical Partners has recently signed on to the Investor Statement on Human Rights and Business Activities in Myanmar.
As members of the Investor Group on Climate Change, Ethical Partners Funds Management strongly endorses its new roadmap released today in conjunction with the CDP and the Principles for Responsible Investment. It is entitled: "Confusion to clarity: A plan for mandatory TCFD-aligned disclosure in Australia".
During May 2021 the Fund returned 1.56% versus the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index of 2.31%, underperforming the market by -0.75%. An underweight position in IT and an overweight position in Westpac contributed to relative performance while an overweight position in Consumer Staples and an underweight position in CBA detracted from relative performance.