Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) is in the process of becoming the largest investor in solar power of any shopping centre group in Australia.
It will invest $28m over the next 12 months across its SA and WA assets via the installation of 39,000 solar panels that will generate 17.4 GWh of energy each year. The energy generated by the solar and battery systems will be used on-site for both Vicinity and retailers reducing reliance on the grid. The project is a good example of how financial returns and sustainability objectives can work in unison. We expect Vicinity to achieve mid teens IRR on investment from its solar energy programme.
In recent discussions with management, it is clear the company is looking for energy related initiatives that benefit as many stakeholder groups as possible. At the same time as shareholders being financial winners from the initiative, in a win for the environment Vicinity is reducing overall energy usage. From FY15 to FY17 the total portfolio gross lettable area (GLA) reduced by 4.6% while the total energy usage of the portfolio has reduced by 14.4% over the same time period. Vicinity is within the investment universe of the Ethical Partners Australian Share Fund.
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.