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The Myer Foundation partners with Mercer to transition to 100% ESG investments

December 02nd, 2020

The Myer Foundation is on a mission to achieve an ambitious goal: 100 percent economic, social, governance (ESG) investment by November 2022.

In 2020, thanks to a partnership with Mercer’s Responsible Investment business, The Myer Foundation’s ESG aligned investments have nearly doubled to represent almost the whole portfolio.

Mercer was commissioned in March this year to help implement a substantial portfolio restructure and fast track progress towards The Myer Foundation’s ambitious goal of achieving 100 percent ESG investment by November 2022, which it set in November last year.

Mercer’s research across asset classes around the world found that the best sustainable investment strategies in Australian equities delivered an annual return of up to 10.4 percent per annum over the last three years to June 2020, as compared to a 5.2 percent return from the ASX300, and a 5.3 percent return from the median actively managed Australian equities fund over the same period.

Established 60 years ago, The Myer Foundation has sought to amplify its social and environmental impact in recent years by aligning its investments with its philanthropic mission.

The Myer Foundation immediate past President Martyn Myer AO, who stepped down last month after 11 years in the role, spearheaded the transition. Mr Myer said there has been a rapid growth in high quality, financially competitive products using the Shared Value thesis, aligned with targets such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Shared Value posits that corporate success and improved social and environmental conditions are in fact inherently linked – and when achieved together, they can dramatically enhance future prosperity,” Mr Myer said.

“The SDGs provide a clear pathway to address social, economic and environmental challenges and with 193 nations committed to achieving them, it signals broad global consensus, creating a powerful economic tailwind for aligned companies.”

Mr Myer said The Myer Foundation’s rapid portfolio transition positions it to play a role in changing the attitude that organisations must choose between doing good and making competitive returns.

“The market has moved on from simple equity divestment or exclusionary investing. New ESG products are producing strong financial, social and environmental gains, which are accelerating the capacity of investors to transition their entire investment portfolios sustainably. The Myer Foundation’s portfolio is rapidly approaching 100 percent ESG alignment, two years ahead of schedule.

“Our portfolio restructure can inform investors seeking to enliven their portfolios to meet the challenges faced by the global community. We encourage more of Australia’s investors to transition towards 100 percent responsible investing.”

Global Business Leader of Mercer’s Responsible Investment, Helga Birgden, said of the partnership: “Through this project, Mercer has worked with The Myer Foundation to identify the best investment managers globally that we expect to deliver strong investment returns while contributing to solutions to sustainability challenges and a positive impact on the environment and local communities.”

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More information

International Philanthropy Award 2020 recipients

Funder: Accenture (Australia and New Zealand)

For-purpose: Good Return

Award partners: Australian International Development Network and the Australian Council for International Development 

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