Sustainability

OUR APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY

At Perpetual, sustainability is about creating enduring prosperity for our clients, people, communities and the environment. This means delivering excellent service, providing a safe and inclusive workplace, helping increase investment in communities and reducing our impact on the environment. Our approach is built on strong foundations of good corporate governance, prudent risk management and a longstanding commitment to ESG principles.


Perpetual FY21 Sustainability Report

PERPETUAL FY21 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Delivering for our clients

  • Supporting our people

  • Helping to increase investment in communities

  • Reducing our impact on the environment

For 135 years, our clients have trusted us to help them protect and grow their wealth. We continue to be recognised as a leader for the services we provide, and we continually work to maintain those standards and to earn the trust of our clients.

In FY21, COVID-19 continued to fundamentally affect how we support and communicate with our clients globally. With fewer face-to-face meetings possible due to the pandemic, more interactions were conducted by email, phone, videoconference and through webinars. Across our global businesses, we hosted 26 webinars, filmed 40 videos and published over 260 articles and whitepapers to provide advice and support to our clients.

Our NPS score for FY21 was +44, largely in line with last year’s record result of +45. Any score over 40 signifies strong advocacy from clients and demonstrates the continued support our teams have been able to provide despite a very challenging year for clients and our people. The feedback we received highlights our efforts to be regularly in touch, the strength of our relationships with clients and the quality of our advice.


The mental health and wellbeing of our team across our global businesses are vital for our people to be able to thrive both at work and at home. We are taking steps to invest in programs that support the wellbeing of our employees, equipping our leaders and people to work in a hybrid environment and increasing connection with the Perpetual community virtually. We made the Headspace Wellbeing app available for our people and their families and provided access to employee coaching and support services through private independent employee assistant programs. Employees in Melbourne who were affected by a long lockdown could access five additional days of carers leave if they needed it.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the health and safety of our people continues to be our top priority. We have strictly followed government advice and restrictions in all our locations. In addition to adhering to government guidelines, we are also implementing initiatives designed to make it easier for our people to get vaccinated. For instance, a vaccination clinic was available at Barrow Hanley’s head office in Dallas and we provide an additional day of leave for employees in Australia and Singapore to attend vaccination appointments or to help manage any post vaccination symptoms.

We are passionate about creating a fulfilling, diverse and inclusive place to work at Perpetual. This means creating a supportive environment that values our people’s unique backgrounds and experiences, and one in which our people feel respected and that it is safe to be themselves. In our most recent employee survey, 94% of our people agreed that Perpetual cultivates an inclusive environment accepting of diverse views and individual differences. To continue to build an inclusive workplace, this year, we launched our new Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

We advocate for greater gender diversity in boardrooms. This commitment is reflected in our own target that by 2024, we will have a 40% gender representation on our Boards. Now, 38% of the Perpetual Limited Board directors are women, up from 29% the previous year. Currently, 36% of our senior leader cohort are women across all our global businesses, level with the previous year. This continues to be below our target of 40% women in leadership by 2024. To create a pipeline of women to move into more senior roles, we have targets in place to increase the representation of women in roles such as investment management and financial advice. Recruitment and talent development programs are in place in our business to accelerate our progress and we are part of initiatives such as Future IM/Pact to attract more women into these sorts of roles.


For more than 100 years, philanthropists have placed their trust in Perpetual to protect their enduring legacies and help them have greater impact in the community. Perpetual has $3.6 billion of funds under advice on behalf of philanthropists, not-for-profit organisations and Native Title trusts and in FY21, our clients distributed $103 million of their philanthropic funds.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, investing Native Title funds through a Native Title trust helps ensure their money benefits the whole community, now and in the future. As one of Australia’s most experienced trustees and investment managers, Perpetual helps communities manage money and administer Native Title trusts. 

In FY21, we managed $708 million for Aboriginal and Native Title clients on behalf of 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We also added four new clients in this area including being appointed as the first Trustee for the Noongar Boodja Trust. The Trust will hold, maintain and grow the compensation paid by the Western Australian Government to the Noongar Agreement Groups under the South-West Native Title Settlement. We will work with the Noongar People to help them realise their aspirations, which are intrinsically linked to country, culture and community.

With Perpetual’s recent global expansion, our focus has expanded to include the concerns and rights of First Nations Peoples in the US and we fully support the engagement our US-based firms have with these communities.

Perpetual has long been committed to supporting First Nations Peoples. In December 2020, we reaffirmed our commitment to reconciliation by launching our new Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan for 2021–23. The Plan has 84 commitments we have made to build positive outcomes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, communities, our people and through good governance.

We encourage our people to contribute to charities through fundraising, volunteering and payroll giving and Perpetual matches employees’ personal donations given to the charities we support. Our employee and company donations in FY21 totalled $612,000. This is an increase from $203,000 the previous year, mainly due to the inclusion of donations from our global businesses since they were acquired.

This year, Perpetual entered into a three-year partnership with the LifeChanger Foundation, a preventative mental health and wellbeing non-profit that empowers young people to live thriving, resilient lives. Perpetual has committed to donate $150,000 each year to LifeChanger over three years through employee fundraising and company donations. The financial commitment aims to assist the organisation to set up a new mentoring program for schools in NSW having already been established in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

 

 

Climate change presents significant risks to the enduring prosperity of our clients, communities and our business. We are taking action to address climate change by reducing our own environmental impact, investing responsibly for our clients and strengthening our governance and disclosure on climate change.

During FY21, we estimate our Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions, predominantly from electricity used to power our offices, were 1,484 tonnes CO2e, which is a slight decrease on the previous year. While emissions fell in our Australian offices as more of our people worked from home, this was offset by the addition of Barrow Hanley and Trillium offices in the US, which are captured in our emissions data for the first time in FY21.

Reporting our environmental impact and actions demonstrates our accountability to all our stakeholders. We disclose our carbon emissions data annually to the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). Our most recent CDP climate submission score in 2020 received a score of B-. This is the highest score Perpetual has received since we first started providing a submission to the CDP in 2010 and a significant improvement from our rating of D in 2019.

Our asset management businesses take an active approach to identifying environmental risks and opportunities through their investment processes. Over the year, Perpetual Asset Management Australia (PAMA) increased the focus on assessing climate risk across their portfolios. While PAMA’s equity strategies do not have specific climate-related objectives, overall, our Australian equity portfolios have two thirds the exposure to high carbon emissions intensive sectors than the S&P/ASX 300 Index.

In May 2021, Trillium announced they would join the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. Along with other global investors, participants in this alliance formally pledge to align their portfolios with the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The energy team at Barrow Hanley increased its discount rate by 2%, which equates to a shadow carbon price of US$50 to US$75 (A$67 to A$100), when valuing energy and utilities holdings as those sectors will be more exposed to future regulation that leads to a higher carbon price. 

Climate focused products and services we offer are not just related to our asset management businesses. In FY21, Perpetual Corporate Trust provided fiduciary services for six client transactions across a range of ESG‑focused outcomes. These included supporting a green residential mortgage backed security deal to provide loans to upgrade the environmental performance of homes and acting as trustee for clients in the growing green bonds market.