When it comes to investing, we take a long-term approach in all our funds.
For a strategy to be long-term, it must be sustainable and responsible over time.
Castle Point is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI),
a United Nations-supported framework which provides aspirational global criteria for responsible investing.
As part of our approach to responsible investment we have, and operate under, a Responsible Investment Policy.
Responsible Investment Policy
The three pillars of our responsible investment policy are:
- We prefer investment opportunities in companies that can generate long-term shareholder returns and provide substantial environmental or social benefits.
- There are some industries, companies or practices that do not have a place in a long-term sustainable society. These are excluded from our investment universe.
- We also encourage company boards and management to improve their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials.
Castle Point has the following processes in place to enhance responsible investing:
- Negative Screening
- Positive Screening
- Active Ownership
We employ a blacklist which is a list of certain industries, companies and practices to be avoided. The blacklist, below, is maintained by our Investment Committee. Where we invest into securities directly, we will not invest in these blacklisted industries or companies.
Stocks, sectors, or industries that are on our blacklist include:
- Manufacturers of tobacco products.
- Any business that derives more than 10% of revenues from the distribution, packaging, or retailing of tobacco products.
- Manufacturers of cluster munitions, anti-personnel landmines, chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
- Manufacturers of automatic and semiautomatic civilian firearms.
- Retailers that derive more than 10% of revenue from automatic and semiautomatic civilian firearms.
- Companies who produce or own questionable pornography material.
- Companies involved in the capture of whales or the processing of whale meat.
Some companies can make positive ESG contributions and provide enhanced long-term shareholder returns. We actively seek out these investments in a process known as positive screening.
Passing through the positive screen does not guarantee inclusion into any portfolio: any potential investment must still meet our stringent investment criteria.
The Positive Screen, below, is maintained by our Investment Committee.
Sectors and Industries where we actively seek out opportunities but are not limited to include:
- Renewable energy
- Carbon neutral technology
- Carbon reduction technology
- Clean energy production
- Emission reduction technology
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) research forms an integral part of our research process. Research is tailored to the category of the investment opportunity. ESG ratings must be high, or we must see a pathway for improvement in this area.
Direct investment that we categorise as “Quality” must have a high ESG rating.
ESG factors we consider include:
- Environmental: factors relating to carbon emissions, pollution, hazardous waste, energy or resource usage, climate change, green technologies or water management.
- Social: factors relating to modern slavery, human rights, ethical or indigenous relationships, health and safety, diversity, social programmes or charitable endeavours.
- Governance: factors such as bribery or corruption, transparency, alignment, board structure, executive compensation or voting procedures.
We use our position as representatives of our investors to influence positive ESG behaviours and outcomes.
We work with regulators, the investment management community and investee companies to develop consistently reportable metrics on factors such as carbon footprint, water use, waste and pollution, employee diversity and labour standards.
If an ESG issue is deemed to be material, we will start a formal engagement process. In determining materiality, we consider potential costs that may come from ESG factors such as social or environmental impacts that may not be captured in traditional financial reporting.
The decision to formally engage is made by the portfolio managers on advice from the analyst.
Our engagement process involves:
- formal declaration of our concern to the company, noting how it might impact the long-term prospects of the company.
- assessment and record keeping of the engagement.
- consideration of exercising our right to submit items to the agenda at the AGM and appoint alternative directors to effect change.
- consideration of exiting the holding.
If appropriate, we will consider collaborating with other shareholders whose interests are aligned with ours.
Where possible we will use our voting rights to influence positive ESG outcomes. If there is a potential conflict of interest in direction of proxy voting, our Conflicts of Interests Policy will apply. We will maintain a record of voting.
Stewardship Code Aotearoa New Zealand
We are a founding signatory to Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Stewardship Code. This code gives investors a clear framework for using their influence to steer the companies they own on critical environmental, social and corporate governance issues.
Stewardship is about creating and preserving long-term value for current and future generations by responsibly managing and allocating capital.You can read more about this code on their website.
Where we appoint sub-managers to make investment decisions on our behalf, we expect their process to be aligned with our own. Where we identify deficiencies, we engage with those managers in the same manner as we would with management, or the boards, of our direct holdings.
As a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, we are committed to these six principles which provide guidelines for institutions on incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into their investment processes:
- Incorporating ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes
- Being active owners and incorporating ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices
- Seeking appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest
- Promoting acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry
- Working together with other signatories to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles
- Reporting on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles
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