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 responsible investment.


Perpetual FY20 Sustainability Report

PERPETUAL FY20 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Delivering for our clients

  • Supporting our people

  • Helping to increase investment in communities

  • Reducing our impact on the environment

For over 130 years, we have been trusted by our clients to protect and grow their prosperity and we want to be recognised as a leader for the service we provide them.

It has been an uncertain period for many of our clients since the spread of COVID-19 globally. In this context, it was pleasing to see that our Net Promoter Score (NPS) increased significantly to +45 in FY20, up from +40 the year before. Providing regular contact, timely and relevant communications via a variety of mediums to our clients across our business during difficult times contributed to the improved score.

As part of our commitment to deliver improved client service and to further strengthen the way in which we handle client complaints, we have created a Client Advocacy team, responsible for assisting our clients to achieve a responsive, timely and fair resolution to complaints.

Looking after the wellbeing of our people and keeping them safe has been critical through the COVID-19 pandemic. We moved quickly to having 95% of our employees working remotely, and have been seeking regular feedback from our people on how they are feeling. Before the pandemic, 58% of our employees said they rarely, or had never, worked remotely. Now 96% have said they want at least some time working from home.

We are passionate about creating a fulfilling, diverse and inclusive place to work and are proud to have been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) for the past three years. To achieve greater gender balance, it is important to build the pipeline of women for senior leadership roles. In June 2020, 36% of our senior leader cohort were women. We have set targets for 40% representation of women in our senior leadership, Perpetual Board and Perpetual Services Limited Board by 2024.

For more than 100 years, philanthropists have placed their trust in us to protect their enduring legacies and help them have greater impact in the community. By the end of June 2020, we had $2.9 billion of Funds under Advice for philanthropists, not-for-profits and native title trusts and, in FY20, we distributed $113 million to communities on behalf of our philanthropic clients.

We have worked with philanthropic clients to provide additional support to help not-for-profits avoid disruptions in critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included helping not-for-profits access over $4 million in existing grants that were previously committed to other projects.

For some isolated communities during the pandemic, it was difficult to secure a necessary supply of food and other essentials. In our roles as trustees of Native Title agreements, we worked with trust advisory councils and local leaders to make emergency funds available as quickly as possible and assisted the distribution of 450 extra-large food packages to remote and regional Indigenous communities.

With the devastating bushfires raging across Australia, we raised nearly $140,000 through our summer fundraising appeal, and through Perpetual’s own donations, for charities supporting bushfire relief. Our employee and Company donations in FY20 totalled over $203,000.

Climate change presents risks for the enduring prosperity of our clients, communities and our business. In FY20, we have further developed our climate change position which sets out our strong support for the Paris Agreement and reducing our environmental impact.

It is important we manage the impact of our own operations on climate change and the environment. We estimate the carbon emissions from our properties reduced by 7% in FY20 and for the first time, our Melbourne office in Rialto was assessed against the NABERS Tenancy Energy Rating, receiving an excellent five-star rating.

Consideration of ESG factors is integrated into our investment process and we also assess climate risk across our investment portfolios. This year, we calculated the carbon footprint of our Wholesale Ethical SRI Fund. The weighted average carbon intensity for our holdings in the Fund was 71 tonnes CO2e per million AUD sales, which is less than half of the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index, a comparable benchmark.

We are committed to transparent reporting and continue to monitor developments relating to climate change disclosure, particularly the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure.


OUR POSITION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is one of the most significant long-term challenges facing society and the global economy. We accept the long-standing scientific research on human-induced climate change and support the aim of the Paris Agreement to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2°C. 

 Climate change presents risks for the enduring prosperity of our clients, communities and our business, which need to be managed. We monitor and assess climate risks and the potential impact on our business and have established a climate change action plan. This consists of: reducing our own environmental impact; investing responsibly; offering investment products that include climate focused exclusions; and reinforcing our governance and disclosure on climate change.

We collaborate with other investors as signatories to the UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment and through our membership of the Investor Group on Climate Change. For Perpetual, responsible investing means consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors is incorporated into our investment activities.

We are committed to transparent reporting and to aligning of our climate change disclosure with the Task Force for climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).