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How Socially Responsible is NZ Crown Investment

Seminar: Friday, 2 December 2005

Reward, Risk and Reputation: Rethinking the Investment Role of Crown Financial Institutions in New Zealand’s Growth

KPMG Centre, 18 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland


Media Advisory
28 November 2005

How Socially Responsible is New Zealand Crown Financial Institutional Investment?

New Zealand’s Crown financial Institutions are obliged to follow certain ethical criteria for their investments. But do they meet these? And what types of companies have they invested in?

In New Zealand the ‘international reputation’ clause (1) has become the main social and environmental or ethical criterion for investment for our Crown Financial Institutions, outside financial return criterion – including the NZ Superannuation Fund, the Government Superannuation Fund, the National Provident Fund, the Accident Compensation Corporation, and the Earthquake Commission. Currently, they have over $24 billion under investment. This is likely to grow over the next 15 years or so to between $130 and $150 billion.

“But how is this invested? And is it invested in a way that New Zealanders would find acceptable?” asks the Chairman of the Council for Socially Responsible Investment, Dr Robert Howell.

Earlier this year, Dr Howell wrote to all the Crown Financial Institutions asking them for a list of the companies they invest in, a list of any companies they have excluded from investment, and their policies and how they implement these.

The results of Dr Howell’s research will be released and the criteria reviewed at a one-day conference this week.

“From the results of our research, it is clear that the criterion being applied is not working,” says Dr Howell. “New Zealand has a good international reputation. Given that the Crown Financial Institutions are owned by the public, I think a large number of New Zealanders would find some of their investments unacceptable. There is a need to replace the ‘international reputation’ criteria.”

Dr Howell will be joined by national and international speakers (below) who are experts in Socially Responsible Investment.

Notes: (1) “to avoid prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community”

Speakers:

Dr Michael Cullen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

John Key, National Spokesman on Finance

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 to 1994.

Dr Morgan Williams has been Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment since 1997. He has worked for the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in research, management and policy for 21 years, prior to joining Agriculture New Zealand Limited, 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. Through this work, he visited Europe and North America to study pest management and sustainability initiatives.

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

Nick Robins is Head of SRI Funds at Henderson Global Investors in London. At Henderson, he is responsible for co-ordinating the fund management and research functions for Henderson’s £1 billion range of SRI funds for individual and institutional investors. He is also responsible for Henderson’s work on climate change, producing its Carbon 100 report and How Green is My Portfolio? reports in association with Trucost in June 2005. In addition, he leads the public policy workstream of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). Nick Robins joined Henderson as Head of SRI Research in December 2000 with over a decade's experience with the sustainable development and corporate responsibility agenda.

Mark Campanale has worked in the socially responsible investment field for the last ten years, as an investment analyst for seven years and investment marketing manager for three. He 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 Campanale is founding director of the UK Social
Investment Forum and a member of the Steering Group for the UNEP Insurers Initiative.

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 focussed on research of Asian companies for SRI portfolios and in 1998 co-founded the world's first SRI fund for the Asia Pacific region.

Magnus Enell has a PhD in limnology and holds an Adjunct Professor position at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics. He runs his own
company (Enell Sustainable Business) mainly as a think tank, mentor and knowledge resource for different stakeholders. His main working area is practical and strategic sustainable development. During 1995-2003, he was Corporate Manager for Environment and during the last years for Sustainable Development at ITT Flygt.

Magnus Furugard is the President of GES Investment Services, as well as one of the founders and owners of the company. He has worked as a management consultant for a major consultancy firm in Stockholm as well as having been a campaign leader for Greenpeace.

Jérôme Tagger is the Head of Research, Eurosif. He was formerly in the Life Insurance sector and with experience of CSR in a retail company, Jerome joined Eurosif last year to conduct research on behalf of the organisation. He coordinated and contributed to the study "Socially Responsible Investment among European Institutional Investors" in 2003. He is managing and producing the Pension Programme Toolkit this year.

Seminar:
Friday, 2 December 2005-11-28 Reward, Risk and Reputation
Rethinking the Investment Role of Crown Financial Institutions in New Zealand’s Growth
KPMG Centre, 18 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland


ENDS

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