Louise DavidsonSustainability manager with Industry Funds Management, Louise Davidson, will soon leave the business to take a similar role with a big industry fund client.

To reinforce its commitment to environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) analysis, the $13 billion Cbus has appointed Davidson to the new role of ESG investment manager.

“The risks and opportunities of ESG need to be assessed in our mainstream process,” David Atkin, Cbus chief executive, said.

“We need a dedicated resource to be able to push that thinking through the investment process, through asset consultants and investment managers.”

Davidson, who has worked with IFM for the past 12 months and helped formulate the manager’s ESG framework, said the Cbus role would involve “driving ESG more broadly across all funds managers”.

Atkin said the importance of ESG considerations was becoming evident in the fund’s large direct property portfolio and its investments through Cbus Property.

“We’re looking to have five-to-six star green rated buildings. From an investment perspective, these buildings will attract more demand from tenants for a longer period of time.”

Davidson said commercial property is a sector where ESG suited the interests of business.

Cbus is a founding member of the Australian Council of Super Investors (ASIC), a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and the Investor Group on Climate Change. It executes proxy votes on its shares through ACSI, which draws on the governance services division of RiskMetrics for this purpose.

Davidson aimed to maintain her positions as national secretary of Women in Super, national chair of the Mothers Day Classic and places on the CMSF organising committee and ASI program committee while undertaking the four day-a-week role at Cbus.

She will remain at IFM until late December and begin at Cbus on January 19, 2009.

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