Myer Foundation soars towards ethical investment portfolio transformation
2 December 2020 at 6:34 pm
The philanthropic giant is aiming for 100 per cent of its portfolio to be made up of sustainable investments by 2022
With The Myer Foundation’s sustainable investments now making up most of its portfolio, leaders within the organisation say they are on a mission to show philanthropy a better way of doing business.
In recent years, the foundation has sought to go beyond just grant making, announcing late last year that by 2022, 100 per cent of its portfolio would be made up of economic, social, governance aligned (ESG) investments.
These include a zero carbon footprint fund run by GreenAlpha, and investing in a company that assists and backs organisations actively working towards achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).
And thanks to a partnership with Mercer’s Responsible Investment, that has seen the foundation’s amount of ESG aligned investments double since March, the foundation is well on its way to achieving its goal.
As well achieving positive social and environmental outcomes, financial return on ESG investments is also positive.
According to Mercer’s research, the best sustainable investment strategies in Australian equities delivered a return of up to 10.4 per cent per annum over the last three years to June 2020, compared with a 5.2 per cent return from the ASX300.
Former foundation president Martyn Myer AO told Pro Bono News that while the Myer Foundation was not as large or as influential as other philanthropic groups in Australia, he hoped that this would show them what was possible.
“What we are quietly trying to do is persuade them to go in the same direction by showing them and explaining to them that… they can have great ESG outcomes and good financial outcomes simultaneously,” Myer said.
Partnerships are key
Myer said he believed most groups wanted to go down a more ethical path, but weren’t sure how to go about it, which is why employing experts could help.
“We had a few [ESG] funds by the end of last year, but when we decided to really speed up the process and achieve 100 per cent, we knew we needed help,” he said.
“Commissioning Mercer to help us to find the funds that we thought would suit us and enable us to jump to 90 per cent plus alignment has been an incredibly positive move.”