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Grosvenor applies filter

Saturday, January 31st 2015, 9:03AM

Grosvenor has removed exposure to all directly-held fossil fuel-related companies within the two Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) fund options in its KiwiSaver scheme.

David Beattie said the changes reflected both developing trends in the SRI investment world and feedback from members of its SRI funds. “The global investment industry has had an increased focus on both responsible and ethical investing, and many of our SRI members have told us that fossil fuel investment is among their primary concerns,” he said.

But he said he wanted to distinguish between responsible investing – considered analysis of a company’s approach and policies relating to their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) responsibilities – and ethical investing, which centres on acknowledging and accommodating specific investor choices related to values-based criteria.

“The changes we have made to our SRI funds reflect the latter – we have added to the list of excluded stocks, in order to more closely match the expressed values of our SRI investors. For the other 13 funds in the Grosvenor KiwiSaver Scheme, we continue to apply ESG principles, which do not necessarily exclude stocks that don’t satisfy our SRI criteria.”

The application of the new fossil fuels exclusion resulted in the removal of 17 companies from the SRI funds, such as BHP and NZ Oil and Gas.

But these companies have been retained in other multi-sector funds in the Grosvenor KiwiSaver Scheme.

The filter, which restricts those companies who earn more than 5% from fossil fuels, caught a few surprising companies, most notably Woolworths. “Many people may not realise that Woolworths and Caltex have a 50:50 joint venture in petrol retailing in Australia, which now accounts for a significant proportion of Woolworths’ sales revenue," Beattie said.

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