VicSuper Signs Natural Capital Declaration
20 May 2015 at 9:13 am
Australian superannuation fund, VicSuper, has formally become a signatory to the global environmental initiative, Natural Capital Declaration.
The Natural Capital Declaration is an international initiative for financial institutions run by the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) and the Global Canopy Programme.
To date, the declaration has been signed by over 40 CEOs of large financial institutions. The signatories include banks, superannuation funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies.
Natural capital encompasses the land, air, water, forests and living organisms that industries including farming, manufacturing, mining, technology and infrastructure all use as raw inputs. As such, the health and availability of natural capital underpins all human economic activity.
VicSuper is a $15 billion profit-to-member superannuation (pension) fund. It operates in Australia with over 242,000 members and more than 21,000 participating employers.
“VicSuper has a long history of integrating the consideration of environmental, social and governance factors into the way we invest and operate our business,” VicSuper CEO Michael Dundon said.
“Signing the Natural Capital Declaration (NCD) forms part of our Corporate Responsibility Strategy and supports our commitment to industry engagement and advocacy.
“We are interested to see how the NCD helps the investment industry drive the capture and reporting of natural capital data at the company and industry level. We believe that more comprehensive disclosure and analysis of natural capital risks, impacts and performance by companies will help our external investment managers to make more informed, balanced and longer term investment decisions.
Liesel van Ast, GCP Natural Capital Declaration Program Manager said: “VicSuper brings a wealth of expertise and experience in sustainability and integrated reporting to the NCD work program. This will be invaluable as its employees help to shape financial sector leadership on natural capital.
“The NCD Steering Committee has approved VicSuper’s nomination as the Vice-Chair of Working Group 4, which will develop a disclosure framework and guidance for financial institutions on natural capital issues to contribute to understanding the significance of global trends, such as resource constraints, environmental degradation, to investment portfolios and financial sector resilience.”
“Through this working group we will contribute to the development of a global disclosure framework and guidance for financial institutions on natural capital,” Dundon said.
The declaration aims to help the finance industry to value natural capital by:
Creating systematic methods for financial institutions to assess their impacts and dependencies on natural capital through portfolios.
Developing and testing methods to link natural capital to financial risks and opportunities.
Working towards an accounting framework that includes natural capital.
Working towards disclosure and reporting that enables financial institutions to understand how they are positioned for natural resource risks and opportunities.