Cbus has called on policymakers across jurisdictions to create comparability around environmental, social and governance (ESG) obligations and responsibilities, so that it can be integrated into investment practices.

Expanding on the rationale to be the first Australian super fund to sign up to the Global Statement on Investor Obligations and Duties, David Atkin, chief executive of Cbus, said long-term risks and opportunities needed to be better understood and articulated.

“We are seeing a lack of consistency about the way in which policymakers acknowledge the importance of ESG issues. This statement is really calling out to clarify to investors that ESG issues are an important responsibility that should be integrated into investment practice, and it’s seeking to create some consistency across jurisdictions,” said Atkin.

He added that in South Africa, the UK, Japan and even in the US, policymakers were starting to create stewardship codes that articulate ESG responsibilities, and that the investment community needed to encourage more countries to create consistent signals to investors.

“As long-term investors we know a lot of the marketplace is focused on short-term dynamics and that doesn’t work for a pension fund like us. We will be investing in 10 years’ time, in 20 years’ time, in 30 years’ time and we want the companies we invest in to be profitable not only today, but in the future,” Atkin said.

The statement, launched in Paris last week, arises from the work of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and The Generation Foundation’s three year project to clarify investors’ obligations which found that; “Failing to consider long-term investment value drivers, which include ESG issues, in investment practice is a failure of fiduciary duty”.

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