The Milford investment team have always looked for the best companies. It is clear to us the best companies are those committed to sustainable practices and are the businesses that, over time, will deliver better operational outcomes, stronger financial performance and ultimately, higher shareholder returns.
If we decide a company is not operating in a sustainable way, we affect positive change by engaging with management and holding boards to account. By using our influence as active managers to improve the sustainability of the business model, we know we are also increasing a company’s potential to achieve long-term financial success.
Milford made a public commitment to explicitly and consistently incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into our investment decision making by becoming a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and a member of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) in February 2018.
In 2020, Milford was awarded an A rating* by UNPRI and recognised for strong engagement with policymakers and regulators. Full details are available in Milford’s UNPRI Transparency Report.
There are more details about Milford’s approach to sustainable investing below. For additional information, please see our Sustainable Investment Policy.
To make the right investment decision, there is much we need to know beyond the profit a company will generate this year or next. Our investment team conduct proprietary, detailed research to understand the long-term sustainability of earnings and the risk profile of a security. Evaluating a business’ exposure to climate change and social harm, and how these risks are being managed by the company, is an essential and important part of this analysis.
To learn more about sustainable investing and Milford’s integrated approach, read the insights published by our investment team.
Active management and corporate engagement are core to Milford’s philosophy and beliefs. We engage extensively with management and by asking the right questions, seek to understand the risks and opportunities presented by environmental, social and governance factors, and how they are being addressed.
As active shareholders, we are also acutely aware of our capacity to drive positive change. Milford embraces this strength by working with company management, Boards and policy makers to help businesses transition to more sustainable models and strategies.
Information detailing our recent engagement activity and outcomes is summarised in Milford Asset Management: Engagement Activity and Outcomes.
We are vocal in promoting best practice corporate governance and actively exercise our proxy voting rights to clearly communicate our expectations regarding environmental, social and governance factors.
More details about Milford’s proxy voting activity are available here. Note that holdings voted in person at AGMs are currently disclosed as “unvoted”. Please contact us if you require further information.
In addition to delivering the best investment outcomes and client service, Milford’s core purpose includes making a positive contribution to our community.
Milford’s philanthropic work has historically been through partner groups, such as “What’s Up”, New Zealand’s most accessed telephone counselling service for children, and the Graeme Dingle Foundation, delivering school-based programmes that equip young people to build resilience and self-belief.
You can view more information about our various community partners on our sponsorship page.
In the first instance, Milford’s strategy is to engage with management and Boards to address areas of sustainability weakness or concern. If in individual cases, our analysis concludes poor environmental, social or governance practices have the potential to compromise the sustainability of earnings or expose investors to unmitigated risk, we will not invest.
In addition, across all Milford funds, including our KiwiSaver funds, we will not directly invest in companies involved in the following activities:
- Production or sale of anti-personnel land mines that are not compliant with the Anti-Personnel Mines Prohibition Act 1998;
- Production, design, testing, assembly, or refurbishment of nuclear explosive devices
- Production or development of cluster munitions
- Processing of whale meat
- Manufacture of tobacco
- Manufacture of recreational cannabis products
- Companies involved in the manufacture of civilian automatic and semi-automatic firearms, magazines or parts
To the extent it is feasible and commercially prudent, we will avoid indirect investment in companies on the Exclusion List (i.e. through ETFs or other collective investment vehicles). These types of investments are assessed on a case-by-case basis by our portfolio managers and any potential for indirect exposure is carefully considered and factored into investment selection.
*In 2020, Milford was awarded an A rating on four UNPRI modules including our overall Strategy and Governance and ESG Incorporation.