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.
While the response to climate change risk by regulators, financial institutions and publicly listed companies is welcome, it currently is not enough to ensure a safe climate. This submission provides a comprehensive assessment of the current risks relating to Australia's key export sectors.
It is estimated that 100 pairs of hands touch your clothes before they arrive in your wardrobe. That’s 100 people at risk of modern slavery, poor working conditions, and exploitation. Ethical Partners has recently signed the Investor Statement in Support of the maintenance and expansion of the Bangladesh Accord.
During March 2021 the Fund returned 3.07% versus the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index of 2.30%, outperforming the market by 0.77%. An overweight position in consumer staples and an underweight position in materials contributed to relative performance while an overweight position in financials and an underweight position in consumer discretionary detracted from relative performance. The Fund is +20% over the last six months.
Globally, 15% of the population are persons with disabilities. The labor force participation rate globally for people with disabilities sits at 32.8% compared to 77.1% for those without disabilities. We believe it is imperative that investors use their shareholder voice to raise the awareness of this important diversity issue and help companies to improve their inclusion.