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Are NZ’s Crown Financial socially responsible?


Are NZ’s Crown Financial Institutions’investments socially and environmentally responsible?

Seminar: Friday, October 14 2005 9.15 am - 4.45 pm: KPMG Centre, Auckland

6 October 2005--New Zealand’s Crown Financial Institutions (CFI’s) are obliged to follow certain ethical criteria for their non-financial investments, but do they meet them?

In New Zealand, the “international reputation” clause (1) has become the main non-financial criterion for our CFIs, which include the NZ Superannuation Fund, the Government Superannuation Fund, the National Provident Fund, the Accident Compensation Corporation, and the Earthquake Commission. They currently have around NZ$21 billion under investment, and this is likely to grow over the next 15 years or so to something between $120 and $150 billion. But how is this invested?

The Council for Socially Responsible Investment (CSRI) chair, Dr Robert Howell, has written to all the CFI’s to find out how they are following the guidance.

The surprising results will be released – and the criteria reviewed – at a one-day conference next week. “From the research we have done, it’s clear that the system is not working,” says Dr Howell.

Dr Howell will be joined by national and international speakers (see below) who are experts in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), an area of the financial community which is fast growing around the world.

“New Zealand’s has a good international reputation. Our Crown Financial Institutions are supposed to take this into account. Given that they are owned by the public, I think a large number of New Zealanders would find some of their investments unacceptable. At this conference we aim to review the criteria, and consider alternatives.”

Notes “to avoid prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community” Speakers:

Dr Margaret Bedggood is Professor of Law at the University of Waikato (former Dean) a member of the International Executive Committee of Amnesty International and a member of the Faculty of Continuing Education at the University of Oxford on International Human Rights Law. She was Chief Commissioner of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission from 1989-94.

Dr Morgan Williams has been the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment since 1997. His professional career began with research in Antarctica and in Fiji. He then worked for the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in research, management and policy for 21 years, prior to joining Agriculture New Zealand Ltd, a Wrightson Group company in January 1996. During the 1980s and 1990s Morgan represented New Zealand on three Australasian inter-governmental committees and undertook many consultancies in the Pacific Islands and Australia. In association with this work he visited Europe and North America to study pest management and sustainability initiatives.

Tessa Tennant is the -Executive Chair, Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA). In 1988 she co-founded the UK's first sustainable investment unit trust and has worked in the field ever since, most recently as Head of SRI Strategy for Henderson Investors. From 1993 to 1997, she was Chair of the UK Social Investment Forum and has served on environmental advisory panels for the UK Government and HRH The Prince of Wales. She is a Board member of The Calvert World Values Fund, Washington DC and an adviser to the UNEP Finance Initiative. Since 1997 she has focused on research of Asian companies for SRI portfolios and in 1998 co-founded the world's first SRI fund for the Asia Pacific region.

Dr Robert Howell is Chair of the Council for Socially Responsible Investment. Robert is a management consultant specialising in governance and strategic planning. His career has included management and planning positions in the health services and local government. He has taught at Massey and Waikato Universities, and started his own educational business.

The following speakers have been interviewed by journalist Rod Oram, and their comments will be played by video link:

Mark Campanale has worked in the socially responsible investment field for the last ten years, working as an investment analyst for seven years and investment marketing manager for three. Mark holds an M.Sc in Agricultural Economics from Wye College and a BA in Politics and Economic History from the University of York. Mark spent four years working on overseas aid projects in Africa before joining Jupiter Asset Management in 1990. Now working for Henderson Global Investors, he is currently responsible for the investment marketing and sales strategy for their SRI division. Mark is a founding director of the UK Social Investment Forum and a member of the Steering Group for the UNEP Insurers Initiative.

Robert Rubinstein is Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Bridge, the Triple P Performance Center (competence and training center for triple bottom line investing), and the 3P Academy. Brooklyn Bridge is a knowledge broker that links all relevant parties to achieve a desired goal with respect to Corporate Social Responsibility. Robert has been active in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the past 20 years. He has been influential in getting CSR into the mainstream of business strategy, by focusing on finance and personnel issues.

Magnus Enell has a Ph.D. in limnology and holds an Adjunct Professor position at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, and runs his only company (Enell Sustainable Business), mainly as a Think-Tank, Mentor and knowledge resource for different stakeholders in the society. His main working area since the end of the 90s is practical and strategic sustainable development in businesses and organisations. During the years 1995-2003 he was the Corporate Manager for Environment and the last years for Sustainable Development at ITT Flygt. [+ GRI involvement]

Magnus Furugård is the President of GES Investment Services, as well as one of the founders and owners of the company. He has a Master's degree in business administration from the Stockholm School of Economics, and is a trained marine officer from the Royal Swedish Naval Staff College. Magnus has worked as a management consultant for a major consultancy firm in Stockholm, as well as a campaign leader for the environmental organisation Greenpeace.

ENDS

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