Investment Firm Ausbil Becomes First Australian Company to Sign Landmark Investor Declaration on Plastic Pollution

Investment Firm Ausbil Becomes First Australian Company to Sign Landmark Investor Declaration on Plastic Pollution

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Ausbil Investment Management (Ausbil) has become the first Australian company to sign the landmark Investor Declaration on Plastic Pollution, a declaration citing plastic pollution as a clear corporate brand risk and pledging to interact with leading companies to find solutions through new corporate commitments, programs, and policies.

In becoming a signatory to the Investor Declaration on Plastic Pollution, Ausbil joins 40+ market participants from North America, Europe, and Canada as the alliance’s first Australian representative.

“At Ausbil, we have integrated ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] into our investment process,” said Paul Xiradis, Executive Chairman and Head of Equities. “In signing the Investor Declaration on Plastic Pollution, we stand behind the active engagement that is going into reducing the impact of plastic on our world, an issue that we believe is close to everyone.”

The Investor Declaration on Plastic Pollution was initiated by As You Sow, a global non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy based in the United States.

“As You Sow is taking an active engagement approach with the major users of plastic to help increase the use of sustainable materials, and reduce the reliance on plastics that end up in the environment and our waterways,” said Mans Carlsson-Sweeny, Head of ESG Research at Ausbil. “The Plastic Solutions Investor Alliance accords closely with how we actively engage with ESG at Ausbil.”

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A recent study by Jambeck et al. at the University of Southern California – Santa Barbara (2015)1 found that the ocean contains an estimated 150 million tons of plastic, with 8 million tons added annually, the equivalent of a garbage truck load every minute. A much publicised 2016 Ellen MacArthur Foundation study predicted that oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if no action is taken to reduce the flow of plastics into waterways.2

“Signing the Investor Declaration on Plastic Pollution further enhances the structure around our ongoing environmental engagements with the leadership of Australia’s top 200 companies,” says Nicholas Varcoe, ESG Analyst at Ausbil. “This mutual collaboration with like-minded global investors seeks to reduce the risk of plastics to sustainable earnings.”

Ausbil’s active ESG engagement program involves ongoing engagement and monitoring of Australia’s largest companies. Ausbil engages some 170 times a year, with boards and CEOs, with companies representing more than half of the market capitalisation of the Australian Stock Exchange, representing over $1 trillion in value. Ausbil’s ESG engagement covers multiple areas of environment, social and governance activity, covering 22 ESG areas, including human rights and modern slavery, climate change, and corporate governance.3

Ausbil became a signatory with the PRI (Principles of Responsible Investing) in 2016 and is a leading advocate for the integration of ESG in investing, the allocation of capital, exercise of voting rights, and advocacy across the marketplace to increase company ESG awareness and improvement.

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Feature image via Canstar.

Show 3 footnotes
  1. J. R. Jambeck, R. Geyer, C. Wilcox, T. R. Siegler, M. Perryman, A. Andrady, R. Narayan, & K. L. Law. (2015) Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 2015; 347 (6223): 768 DOI: 10.1126/science.1260352
  2. Retrieved from www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/the-new-plastics-economy-rethinking-the-future-of-plastics
  3. Source: Ausbil ESG Engagement Report 2018, available at www.ausbil.com.au

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