The role of Australia’s financial sector in sustainability:
Recognising the growing opportunities for the finance sector to contribute to sustainable development, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage commissioned this high level study, which aims to:
* identify international trends (in North America and Europe) in sustainable development ain the finance sector
* evaluate the Australian finance sector (investment, superannuation, credit and lending and insurance) in the context of these trends;
* identify barriers and opportunities for the Australian financial sector to contribute to sustainable development.
This study was conducted over a three week period, with the support of an industry advisory group and gives an overview of recent developments. It provides a basis for further discussions between government and business on enhancing the role of the Australian financial sector in sustainable development.
For the purposes of this study we have adopted the definition of sustainable development used by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development:
“…the delivery of competitively-priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource intensity throughout the lifecycle, to a level at least in line with the Earth’s estimated carrying capacity.”
A Capital Idea: Realising Value from Environmental and Social Performance:
A new business to help senior executives “capital value” from good environmental and social practice. “A Capital Idea” discusses ways companies can profit from socially responsible investment while improving community standing and shareholder returns.
Announcing the launch of the 60-page booklet, Environment Minister Robert Hill said more than half of adult Australians now owned shares and increasingly they wanted information about the social and environmental performance of the companies in which these shares were held. A millennium opinion poll, conducted by Canadian-based Environics International among 25,000 people in 23 countries, found that Australians had the highest expectations of company performance. “This rising interest in socially responsible investment reflects a trend worldwide,” said Hill. “As time goes by, the importance of environmental issues and the opportunities and risks associated with them means that all funds will take account of them.”
The guide, prepared by Deni Greene Consulting Services with Standards Australia and Ethical Investments Services, was launched in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne by Peter Martin, chief executive of Rothschild Australia Asset Management, one of the first mainstream funds managers to launch ethical investment funds. The guide follows the release of a study of the finance sector’s role in promoting sustainable development. The findings will be discussed at a ministerial round table with the industry in Canberra later this month.
(source: Tomorrow Web)