ESG Issues - Australia

Goals

To obtain a publication ready article of 300-500 words on some top ESG factors/issues affecting Australian companies.

Early Findings

  • According to AMP Capital Australia, the top 10 ESG investment issues for 2019 were climate change, community trust in banking, ethics in social media investment, access to medicine, investing for impact, palm oil and deforestation, the war on plastic, modern slavery and supply chains, child labor in cocoa, and antibiotics in our food supply.
  • The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act went into effect in January 2019 and requires companies with revenue in excess of A$100 million per year to report "on the risk of slavery in their supply chains for their next fiscal year." This is likely to increase the focus on this issue in Australia.
  • Many ESG initiatives being undertaken by companies are being driven by customers and staff. An example is discount retailer Best&Less.
  • Australia lags behind Europe in terms of implementation of ESG policies.
  • A survey of 250 companies from Australia and New Zealand found that the top issues for companies are governance, diversity, safety, and equality. Greenhouse gas emissions were also a concern, but ranked behind other issues for this particular group of companies. One possible explanation for this is that companies want to focus on those items that are more within their control, people and governance.

Proposed next steps:

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