Maple-Brown Abbott has launched the Maple-Brown Abbott Australian Sustainable Future Fund, focussed on playing an active role in supporting positive outcomes for people and the planet.
CEO and managing director Sophia Rahmani said the Maple-Brown Abbott Australian Sustainable Future Fund leverages the firm’s resources, expertise and track record in Australian equity investing and long history and focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.
“We believe investors can help shape a better future. The challenges facing our society – including climate change, resource management, financial inequality and disparity in living standards – require purposeful capital investment to enable solutions and support positive outcomes for people and the planet. The Australian Sustainable Future Fund looks to play an active role in that process.
“We believe we can help deliver a positive impact by supporting companies we consider to be making a positive difference by giving them access to capital they need to invest, by not supporting those that hinder social progress, and by engaging with companies to influence their behaviour. We also believe that this doesn’t have to come at the expense of strong financial returns.
“Maple-Brown Abbott recognised the significance of the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment early and become a signatory 15 years ago. We consider ESG factors across all investment strategies, and launched our first responsible investment fund in 2009.”
Ms Pringle said within the Australian Sustainable Future Fund, it is a requirement that all portfolio holdings have a positive environmental or social impact.
“We are interested in knowing the likely real-world outcome of the companies we invest in, how they are contributing to solutions that will help create a better Australian future. We apply a positive screen across the investment universe to identify companies that make a positive contribution to one or more of our sustainable investment themes, which are informed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“When assessing companies, we consider the degree to which revenue is derived from products and services that support our sustainable investment themes. We also assess a company’s future ability to support those themes, recognising that to be truly sustainable we need to consider the needs of both present and future generations. This is particularly evident in investing for a low carbon future, for example, where the needs of an energy system in transition will be different in the future than they are today,” Ms Pringle said.
“To bring this to life for investors, our reporting includes visual representation of the degree to which the Fund is contributing to each of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Fund also applies a negative screen to exclude businesses that have material involvement in activities that detract from a sustainable future.
Mr Hotop says an active management approach is key to success in sustainable investing.
“Identifying companies that will positively contribute to a sustainable future, as well as deliver strong risk-adjusted returns over the long term, requires stringent active management.
“The fund uses the value-driven approach of Maple Brown Abbott’s Australian Value Equities team to invest in listed Australian companies that contribute to positive environmental or social outcomes. It takes a ‘bottom up’ stock selection process, driven by in-depth fundamental analysis from our investment team, to identify stocks that have been undervalued by the market and that we expect to deliver income and long-term capital growth to investors,” Mr Hotop said.
The Maple-Brown Abbott Sustainable Future Fund provides investors with exposure to a diversified portfolio constructed of Maple-Brown Abbott’s highest conviction opportunities which we expect to deliver strong risk-adjusted returns over the long-term. It invests across a broad selection of companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and will typically hold 25-40 stocks. The minimum initial investment is $20,000.
The fund has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).