Ethical Investment Advisers utilises a two stage screening process for the
portfolio. Firstly, a negative screen is applied to companies which are involved in
harmful environmental activities and socially hazardous activities such as
tobacco and weapons manufacture, uranium or other mining, fossil fuels, coal
seam gas or gambling. Companies which do not pass the negative screen are
excluded from the portfolio.
Secondly, a positive screen is applied, which targets companies
that are involved in positive environmental activities or which provide benefits
to society, such as healthcare, energy efficiency, recycling, renewable energy,
fair trade, community finance and social welfare.
Ethical Investment Advisers screen investments on
environmental and social grounds, utilising
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) research
from CAER, additional ethical research from Eco
Investor, as well as their own internal research.
Ethical Investment Advisers continuously monitor all
investments to ensure they continue to meet their
environmental and socially responsible standards. If a
company contravenes the ethical screening process,
the Ethical Investment Advisers will attempt to divest
as soon as prudently possible.
A key focus of the portfolio is to find companies which are involved in positive environmental activities or which provide benefits to society, such as healthcare, renewable energy, energy efficiency and technology, food, water, sustainable agriculture, education, community development and social welfare.
The portfolio excludes investments which are involved in companies which are involved in harmful environmental activities and socially hazardous activities such as tobacco and weapons manufacture, third world exploitation, uranium mining or gambling. As a point of difference, the portfolio also excludes all fossil fuels including companies involved in the production, financing, refinement and transportation of fossil fuels, including coal, petroleum and natural gas.
Exclusions in detail
In general, exclusion do not apply to insurance companies which provide insurance to excluded companies; services companies which provide certain services to excluded companies (waste removal or telecommunications, for example); or investment companies which may own investments in excluded companies.
The fossil fuel exclusion includes companies involved in the production, financing, refinement and transportation of fossil fuels, including coal, petroleum, coal seam gas and natural gas. Not excluded are insurance companies which provide insurance to fossil fuel companies, electrical distribution companies which may distribute some power from fossil fuel sources, services companies which provide certain services to fossil fuel companies (waste removal or telecommunications, for example), or investment companies which may own investments in fossil fuel companies.
Tobacco manufactures and retailers are excluded from the portfolio. Not excluded are transport companies which may transport tobacco products as part of their operations, or companies which make packaging for tobacco products as part of their operations.
Gaming companies are excluded from the portfolio. Not excluded are companies which indirectly support the gaming sector (telecommunications, which provide access to online gambling, for example). Companies which directly own gaming (casinos, pokies etc) will be excluded.
Uranium and Coal mining companies are excluded. Not excluded are companies solely involved in lithium, cobalt, graphite or other rare earths used primarily for battery technology. However, strict environmental screens are applied to mining companies which include the type of mining (brine pools vs open cut mining, for example) and the end-of-life environmental rehabilitation processes.
Companies which test on animals for cosmetic purposes will be excluded. Not excluded are companies which are required to test on animals for medical purposes. However, any animal testing must be done in accordance with the Australian code of Practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.
In addition, Managers also look at the following aspects of each company:
- Integrity of products and services
- Community relations
- Corporate Governance
- Labour practices
- Employee Relations
- Equal opportunity
- Attitudes to indigenous rights
- Human rights abuse