This year AIST will conduct sessions on ESG issues and the PRI at our upcoming CMSF conference in Brisbane in March and our Global Dialogue conference in San Francisco in June. We are also taking steps to incorporate ESG initiatives on an operational basis, such as reducing the carbon footprint at the CMSF conference.

Working with our carbon neutral partner, Industry Funds Management, CMSF will introduce measures such as reduced paper usage, air-travel offsetting and sourcing local produce for conference meals to reduce food transport. Meanwhile for asset-owner signatories like the not-for-profit super funds, the PRI provides guidance on addressing ESG issues and integrating them into investment decisions.

The principles of PRI are based on the premise that ESG issues can affect investment performance and that the appropriate consideration of these issues is part of delivering superior riskadjusted returns and therefore firmly within the bounds of investors’ fiduciary duties.

AIST recognises that the goals of the superannuation industry go hand-in-hand with the objectives of the United Nations to build a more stable, sustainable and inclusive global economy. Just as the success of the superannuation industry rests on its ability to forward plan, addressing ESG issues such as climate change is about making decisions today in order to protect and advance our future economic prosperity.

While AIST members will be under no additional obligation as a result of AIST becoming a PRI signatory, it is hoped that more member funds will recognise the benefits in joining a global communique of this kind.

By harnessing the power and influence of hundreds of global businesses that together control an impressive $A13 trillion in assets, the PRI has the potential to deliver real and lasting outcomes – both through words and actions. For more information about the Principles visit www.unipri.org

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