Firstly, we exclude some companies and industries based on their involvement in areas of harm, or for breaching global norms. For example, we don’t invest in companies that manufacture controversial weapons, tobacco or firearms, or those involved in whaling. We also don’t invest in companies that earn a large part of their revenues from thermal coal mining, the extraction of unconventional oil and gas or from adult entertainment.
However, we don’t just have a list of exclusions – we do a lot more than that!
At ANZ Investments, we believe that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are also important drivers of long-term investment risks and returns. That’s why we delve into these factors to try and identify what the risks and opportunities are for each and every investment we make. We look at environmental factors like climate change, social factors like the treatment of employees and human rights, and governance factors like transparency and diversity in leadership.
But that’s not all. We place just as much importance on stewardship, which involves using our influence as investment managers with a view to shaping the behaviour of a number of companies we invest in. Working on behalf of investors, the aim is to encourage more sustainable business practices and improved corporate behaviour. Our investment team, as well as the overseas investment managers who we work with, regularly talk to companies and industry bodies to drive good practice. They vote at companies’ Annual General Meetings (AGMs) in ways that can influence them for the better and, as New Zealand’s largest investment manager, we can have a real influence.