Hostplus’ SRI Balanced option has been updated following the Trustee’s review of the option’s underlying investment structure in 2020, which also included direct consultation with its members.
The option invests in companies and assets that actively contribute towards sustainable outcomes and are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, it will also now exclude a broader range of industries, including all fossil fuels, that were identified through member research as not aligning with SRI members’ expectations.
The SRI Balanced option’s update coincides with Hostplus strengthening its responsible investment approach and scaling up its support for climate-friendly technologies, such as renewable energy, to pave the way for a transition to a low-carbon economy.
The fund has also been progressively tightening its fossil fuel exclusions in its SRI Balanced option. From today, the option will exclude all companies that own reserves, explore, mine, extract, produce, refine or generate energy from fossil fuels. It will also exclude companies that receive revenue from servicing these sectors by providing equipment, pipeline transport or distribution.
The option also invests in assets such as renewable energy, green buildings, clean water and alternative foods. It will also benefit from significant levels of investment in healthcare and medical solutions that are part of the Fund’s venture capital investments, all of which are particularly relevant as society seeks to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Elia, Hostplus CEO, said that members invested in the SRI Balanced option would appreciate the choice of a product that aligns with their values whilst aiming to deliver them a strong net benefit through the competitive fees and investment objectives that have come to be the fund’s hallmark.
“We are delighted to be able to offer this refreshed responsible investment option following a series of consultations with members last year,” said Mr Elia.
“We recognise climate change as being a material financial risk, as well as an environmental and community one. We found through our discussions with members that there is increasing community awareness and sentiment on the issue of climate change and a sustainable and principled approached to investment. We have listened to our members and have responded.”
“I am confident that our refreshed SRI Balanced option is one that our members can be proud of while confidently allowing us to deliver on our primary objective, which is, of course, providing great retirement outcomes for them,” added Mr. Elia.
During its most recent Annual Members’ Meeting, held in December last year, Hostplus announced that it was actively considering a net zero emissions target as part of a review of the Fund’s approach to climate-related risk management. The outcome of this review is expected to be communicated to the Fund’s members in the near future.