The UN Sustainable Development Goals – what are they and why do they matter?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals – what are they and why do they matter?

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing has come a long way in the past 10 years and today more Australian investment managers than ever are committing to incorporating responsible investment practices into their operations.

At Uniting Financial Services we have a very clear mission – to invest for the long term while making the world a better place and we have been doing so since the 1980s.

Our investment choices are governed by the 14 investment principles of our Ethical and ESG Investment Policy. As our policy is aligned to Uniting Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the investment choices we make are also helping to deliver the SDGs.

So what are the SDGs and why do they matter?

The SDGs are a set of 17 goals for global development – effectively a blueprint for significantly changing the world by 2030. They include goals such as affordable and clean energy, clean water and sanitation, the elimination of poverty and quality education.

Building on existing practices, there is an opportunity for investment managers to contribute to the SDGs through asset allocation, investment decisions and company engagement as well as the development of new financial tools and products.

Our commitment to the SDGs

Within UFS portfolios, alignment to the SDGs means holding the managers we invest with to account on a number of measures. Not only do we track the alignment of our portfolios to the SDGs but we also look at the specific issues each portfolio is helping to address.

For example, companies within our Australian equity portfolio are contributing towards the specific goals of doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; tracking and reporting waste and pollutants; and substantially reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.

Within our fixed income portfolios, the bonds we invest in are helping to tackle a range of issues including fighting poverty; equal rights to economic resources and basic services and promoting social and economic inclusion. Our combined fixed income portfolio also invests in 39 percent of all the Australian denominated ‘green’ fixed income securities on the market.

In addition, in December 2019 we delivered the first SDG bond by a not-for-profit in Australia.

What this means for investors

We believe that investing with the SDGs as a primary focus not only helps to contribute to better financial returns but can also produce measurable changes in the wellbeing of people, lead to more sustainable economic development and improve the environment we live in.

This gives investors, and particularly those who are investing in line with their values and Faith, reassurance that their funds are being managed in an ethical, sustainable way.

To find out more about the UFS approach to sustainable investing and the SDGs, please view our latest Impact Report.

  1. Source: UFS Impact Report 2021

Important information: The Uniting Financial Services (UFS) unregistered managed investment schemes are available for investment only to wholesale investors. Prospective wholesale investors who wish to invest via our unregistered managed investment schemes can access the Information Memoranda for any of these funds on the UFS website. While the information in this email has been prepared with all reasonable care, UFS accepts no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or misstatements however caused. No action has been taken to register or qualify these products or otherwise permit a public offering of these products in any jurisdiction outside Australia. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

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Edwin Lo, Senior Portfolio Manager, Uniting Financial Services

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