This reporting season we once again saw the pleasing acceleration of the inclusion of ESG issues in financial reporting season presentations and calls across the S&P/ASX300. Ethical Partners is very pleased to see this clear recognition of the importance of ESG risks and opportunities, as well as the concept of purpose and social licence being considered as integral to a company’s financial results, governance, and the forward strategy that they share with their investors.
Ethical Partners’ own internal research at the last reporting season found that mentions of ESG issues in earnings calls or presentations had shot up to 61% of S&P/ASX 300 companies.
This reporting season has seen further increases again, with 72% of S&P/ASX 300 companies discussing ESG in their Feb 2022 reporting season’s earnings communication.
We also note that across Ethical Partners Australian Share Fund 90% of our portfolio companies discussed ESG in their Feb 2022 reporting season earnings communications.
This equates to 13% higher than across the S&P/ASX300 as a whole.
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During February 2022 the Fund returned 1.87% versus the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index of 2.09%, underperforming the market by 0.21%. Over the past 12 months the Fund has returned 14.7%, outperforming its benchmark by 4.45% (after fees).
We believe that if investors are demanding transparency, accountability, disclosure and attention to Modern Slavery within their operations, that we as investors must also be transparent and accountable as to how we address modern slavery ourselves.