Local Government Super (LGS) has been given the Infinity Award for sustainability leadership for the second year in a row by research firm SuperRatings.
The Infinity Award recognises the superannuation fund that is practicing responsible investment principles and open communication of RI processes to its membership. Candidates are assessed on three criteria – investment, engagement and behaviour.
“Our commitment of over $3 billion invested in responsible investment strategies across Australian shares, international shares, property, and the absolute return and private equity asset classes, is by far the largest commitment of any Australian super fund” said LGS CEO Peter Lambert. “We are constantly working on development of systems and processes to identify, monitor and address ESG and climate change issues across all asset classes. We have recently launched a Sustainable Australian Shares investment option, and are planning to expand our sustainability criteria to the Fixed Interest portfolio.”
LGS has nearly AU$6bn in assets under management, and around AU$3.1bn are invested in responsible investment strategies across asset classes including Australian shares, international shares, property, and the absolute return and private equity asset classes. LGS has upgraded a number of assets in its direct property portfolio, retrofitting of its direct property portfolio with nine LGS-owned properties, which include commercial offices and shopping centres, awarded the top 6- star NABERS environmental rating in 2011. Its building at 76 Berry St, North Sydney, considered to be the lowest emission office building in Australia, has also committed to achieve this rating without the use of GreenPower renewable energy.
At the Australian Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Conference on Sustainability and Integrated Reporting, Bill Hartnett, LGS’s head of sustainability said during a panel discussion that responsible investment is fundamental to their duties as a superannuation fund.
“We see it as fundamental to fulfilling fiduciary obligations,” Hartnett said. “We see the very strong nexus between sustainability and the area of superannuation. It’s very important to remember that we’re an asset owner and so we’re longer term. … [J]ust like every sector, super funds have to gain a license to operate. We are here investing on behalf of member; our members are strongly involved in the area of sustainability work. We find what we do gives a line of communication to members and that they appreciate it.”