For Christian Super, being ethical means more than just integrity and honesty in how we deal with members and stakeholders. It also means developing an investment strategy that focuses on investments that support core Christian beliefs including – the authority of God, respect for human life and the importance of caring for God’s creation.
As part of our responsible investment strategy we intentionally screen our investments to make sure that Christian Super does not invest in industries such as stem cell research and atomic or chemical weaponry and greatly limits exposure to such industries as gaming and tobacco.
Negative Screening is the process of excluding companies that fail the Fund’s minimum ethical standards. This may be due to their involvement in certain industries which the Fund considers to be harmful (e.g. tobacco, gaming, sex industry) or because of particular behaviours or incidents that the Fund considers to be significant ethical violations (e.g. human rights abuses, environmental destruction).
Positive Screening is the process of investing more heavily in companies that have best practice social and environmental practice. The Fund evaluates the sustainability performance of the largest 500 Australian companies, and uses external research to evaluate the sustainability performance of the largest 1500 companies globally. We invest more heavily in companies with strong sustainability performance.
Company Engagement is the process of trying to positively influence company behaviour through dialogue as an investor. This can be a long and complex process, and the Fund limits the use of engagement to Australian companies on issues where we believe we can offer a unique perspective with an acceptable chance of success. Some of the issues on which we have engaged with Australian companies are:
- The use of raw materials from disputed territories
- Risks associated with resource extraction operations in high-risk countries
- Political and social issues associated with Australian companies commencing operations in Burma
- Accessibility of pornographic content by minors through mobile phone platforms.
- Operation of poker machines by Australian supermarket chains.
We also encourage companies who are pro-active in making a difference! For further details, please refer to our Engagement & Ownership Policy.
Impact Investments are investments made with dual aims – a financial return and either a social or environmental return. In the case of the Fund’s impact investments, the Fund is seeking fully commercial rates of return in addition to the positive social or environmental impact.
The Fund has made investments in Clean Technology, Renewable Energy, Microfinance, Sustainable Agriculture, Community Infrastructure and Community Finance.
Read a case study done by the UNPRI on Christian Super’s approach to impact investments with focus on community finance and community infrastructure.
Read a research paper on Impact Investing to which Christian Super significantly contributed.
Listen to Profit with purpose – Impact Investing on the ABC radio with Peter Murphy & Simba Marekera.
Where the Fund owns shares in a listed company, we become a part owner in these companies, acquiring shares (or equivalent) in the company and associated rights. These rights include the right to vote in Shareholder meetings, along with the right to be involved in legal action against companies or directors of companies whose negligence has caused financial loss to Christian Super.
We will make efforts to vote shares in all Australian-domiciled companies in which it invests, except in cases where to exercise such voting rights may prejudice the liquidity of the holdings, or will work against our overall investment interests. It is our policy not to vote shares in international jurisdictions, as this has been deemed cost-ineffective. This will be reviewed as appropriate.
The Proxy Voting Policy is located in section 3 of our Engagement & Ownership Policy .