Sustainability is now more important than ever. At Novia we are always keen to ensure that our impact on the world is as positive as possible. We are continuing to find new ways to save energy and paper wherever possible, and to look for other ways to be responsible corporate citizens. You can find details on what we've been doing below.
In addition, we are making available information from Fund Managers about their ESG offerings. We're adding to this list all the time so please come back from time to time to find out more.
We're also working with DFMs to signpost those who have ESG offerings to make it easier for Advisers and their clients to choose ESG investments. Just look out for the green tree symbol on our DFM page to see who offers ESG portfolios.
At Novia we’re committed to minimising our environmental impact in all areas. There are already many steps that we’ve taken to this end.
Novia has always carefully considered its position as a company and employer in Bath. We're committed to the protection of the environment and aim to minimise the impact of our business activities by applying effective environmental management initiatives. Our management reviews for environmental impact are part of decision-making processes and we strive to improve performance factors by minimising waste and maximising recycling wherever possible.
As a company we have been largely paperless since inception and are fortunate to have the technology in place to reduce the environmental burden of paper. All documentation is provided online by default. In other words, if clients wish to receive their documents on paper, they will need to actively opt for this. This saves around three million sheets of paper each year.
We do everything we can to minimise paper production, but because we can't always control how we receive documentation at our office, we optimise our secure recycling capabilities once the paper journey is complete. All desk paper bins have been removed and replaced with central recycling units. These measures led to a three-fold increase in our recycling within the first 12 months since implementation. Just during 2019/2020 alone, our paper recycling efforts indicate the following statics (using data from Shredit, our confidential waste contractor):
The production of 20 tons of recycled fibre
Saving 341 trees from being felled
Reducing landfill by 50 cubic metres
Saving 208326 kilowatts of electricity
Cutting carbon by 450 tonnes
Cutting petrol usage by 7571 litres
Saving 27300 litres of water
Keep Cup campaign
In 2019 we were delighted to start our Keep Cup campaign. Being based in the centre of Bath, we are lucky to be surrounded by so many coffee shops. With everyone becoming increasingly aware of the problems of plastic take away cups, we decided to give all our staff a Novia branded Keep Cup. Staff were thrilled to have their own branded and reusable cups, and with Keep Cup being one of the favourite providers of re-usable coffee cups, staff felt an extra incentive to make use of them. Their use can also allow a cost saving as a number of the large coffee chains offer a discount to those bringing their own cup.
The campaign was very successful with staff so we decided to do the same with reusable branded water bottles, which have proved particularly handy for exercise sessions as well as the workplace.
Our electricity supplier, Opus, provides energy from 100% renewable resources. In addition, around 10% of the energy needs for our offices comes from the solar panels on our building. We have replaced all lighting with LED lights to save energy. For anyone brewing a cup of coffee in the office, there is no need to use an energy hungry kettle; boiling water is available via an energy saving tap from a heat-conserving insulated tank.
At Novia we have always made the commitment not only to help maintain the development and welfare of our staff, but also to do what we can to help those in the wider community. We have a history of supporting local charities and have done a lot of work with the Bath Rugby Foundation who help young people in and around Bath. In 2018, Novia CEO Bill Vasilieff decided that he wanted the company to be better equipped to give back to the community, not only in time but in resource too. He therefore established the Novia Foundation to support projects and initiatives for the benefit of people in and around the city of Bath, and other parts of the United Kingdom. You can find out more about the Foundation through the website here.
Through the Foundation two of the charities we have supported are West of England Mentoring and Mentoring Plus. Novia has partnered with the charities for a number of years now. Each year a number of employees volunteer to work with students at a chosen school in the area to help build their confidence and introduce them to skills they might need in the work place. The programme is extremely successful and both employees and students have found the process very rewarding.
We take staff health and well-being very seriously. All staff are automatically entitled to private medical insurance upon joining the company. The medical insurance plan is provided by AXA PPP and ensures that staff get quick and easy access to the medical care that they need, allowing them to get well and back to work when they can. The company understands the importance not only of the physical well-being of employees, but of their mental well-being too and the cover provides support for both. In 2019 a number of staff undertook training as mental health first aiders. The company has also looked at initiatives it can take to help employees achieve good mental health. Also in 2019, through an invitation from a company within our office building, staff had the opportunity to attend mindfulness sessions. This was very well received by all those who attended.
Providing products and services in an industry such as Financial Services means that we understand the importance of providing products and services of the highest standard and ethics. As a company we are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and we work hard every day to ensure that we meet their rules and guidelines for client protection and transparency with everything we do.
We have always understood the importance that any company, and particularly those in the Financial Services sector, must place upon good corporate governance. The company, directors and the board have put a solid framework in place to make sure that good governance is embedded throughout the company. We do this with the support of our business advisers who are some of the leading firms in the country. Our auditors are nationally renowned Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), and our legal advisers are Dentons and Stone King. Dentons are one of the largest full service law firms in the UK and both have been advising in the financial services industry since the introduction of the Financial Services Act in 1986. Stone King, ranked in the UK’s top 200 law firms by The Lawyer and with a leading reputation in the charity sector, has an office local to Novia’s home town of Bath.
The Company Board
The Company Board consists of four individuals all of whom have a great deal of experience in their own specialities and in business in general. Novia's board is chaired by David Royds ex Chairman and co-founder of Matrix Group.Our board also includes: John Beaumont (non-exec) who has held numerous non-executive roles in major public sector organisations and several technology start-ups, CEO, Bill Vasilieff and CFO, Paul Parry.
The Board meets on a monthly basis, with additional special meetings as required. The Board has responsibility for the overseeing of all day-to-day matters of the company but it has a particular responsibility for reviewing trading performance, resources, standards of conduct, funding, strategy and reporting to shareholders.
The company has two board committees, the Audit and Risk Committee and the Remuneration committee. The Audit and Risk committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Board on the appointment of external auditors, and for keeping under review the external auditors’ independence. The committee is also responsible for reviewing the accounting principles, policies and practices adopted in preparation for the interim and annual financial statements. In addition, the audit and risk committee monitors the framework for internal control and risk with regular reports to the Board. The Board has delegated their authority to the Remuneration committee to approve the Remuneration policy and the remuneration schemes, including those of the executive directors and senior management of the company.
The Board has overall responsibility for the Company and focuses on the strategy and interests of shareholders. The company has an organisational structure with clearly defined responsibilities and lines of accountability and each executive director has been given responsibility for specific aspects of the company’s affairs. The integrity and competence of personnel are ensured through high recruitment standards and subsequent training. The company’s employees are essential for the future prosperity of the business. The company encourages contact and interaction between members of staff at all levels.
At AllianceBernstein (AB) we view responsible investing as an active and dynamic pursuit that unites all parts of our firm; from the way we work and operate within our communities, to the manner in which we assess and engage with companies, as well as the investment solutions we provide for our clients.
Our approach to responsible investment comprises three core characteristics:
A commitment to corporate responsibility relates to both to our activities as a firm, and as an investor. We believe that we cannot be credible responsible investors without acting as a trustworthy corporate citizen, so it is important that we demand the same standards of ourselves as those of the companies we buy. This relates not only to environmental stewardship and our efforts to improve efficiency, but also to the inclusive and diverse social culture that we foster, and the fiduciary duty we possess to our clients and the communities in which we operate.
Read more about AB’s pursuit of corporate responsibility in our 2020 Responsible Investing Report:
Rigorous environmental, social, and governance (ESG) integration and a proactive engagement agenda form the foundation of our responsible investment philosophy. It is built on the notion that the way companies respond to material issues can impact their future profitability, and the emphasis placed on ESG considerations can offer a valuable insight into the quality of a business’s management, its culture, and risk profile, ultimately helping to scrutinise it prior to investing. Whether it is hidden risk that is uncovered, or a promising opportunity that is revealed, the analysis of ESG factors in assessing potential returns is an essential means of creating value for clients.
At AB, ESG integration is investor driven. Through an in-depth understanding of the companies and industries they cover, our individual investment teams are best placed to determine which ESG factors are material to performance, as well as to encourage the businesses they own to take them into account. The initial analysis is only part of the process though; our insights must be documented and shared using our proprietary systems so that they can form the basis for collaborative engagement campaigns, across teams and asset classes. By doing so, we demonstrate our willingness to demand that companies improve their practices, thereby driving better outcomes for investors.
The importance of utilising ESG factors in fundamental research applies to any investment strategy, within any asset class. It is simply good investment practice. That is why all of AB’s active strategies incorporate ESG considerations into their decision-making processes and use it to guide ownership efforts that may drive positive change within our portfolios.
Portfolios with Purpose
For clients who want to build upon the principles of integration and engagement to invest with a specific, ESG-related, objective, we have created various Portfolios with Purpose.
An example is our Sustainable Thematic range which aims to deliver superior financial performance by targeting companies that identify environmental and social challenges, and offer sustainable solutions to address them.
Our process, spanning both equity and fixed income assets, combines a bottom-up focus on the ability of companies to ensure the longevity of their business models through the management of ESG issues and traditional financial metrics, with a top-down thematic emphasis that determines the products and services which contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate change, resource scarcity, public health, and demographic shifts are increasingly influencing the movement of financial markets, so it is important that we anticipate the potential opportunities, and risks, that may arise as a result. Directing capital to businesses providing solutions to these challenges, rather than those which face the risks they pose, can provide investors with exposure to fast-growing industries, that may help to preserve and, ultimately, increase their wealth.
Watch our short video with Dan Roarty, CIO of Sustainable Thematic Equities, to hear more about our Sustainable Thematic investment philosophy:
ESG analysis is not just about identifying and measuring risk, it is also about identifying investment opportunities. We consider ESG factors alongside traditional financial measurements to provide a comprehensive view of an investment and help identify those investments that have the potential to deliver sustainable returns.
Responsible Investing refers to an overarching approach that takes into account important aspects of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues when investing. At Franklin Templeton, this umbrella term applies to the integration of ESG factors into the investment process across all of our strategies.
We believe the consideration of ESG factors can lead to better outcomes for our clients. When used to complement conventional financial research, ESG analysis can help improve long-term investment performance.
Incorporating material ESG factors into fundamental research provides a comprehensive view of an investment’s value, risk and return potential. That’s why we’re committed to integrating ESG across all asset classes and investment strategies.
We’ve standardised our ESG philosophy across the firm by establishing an ESG Investment Committee, as well as ESG asset class working groups. This approach allows us to harness expertise from across our global network, and helps us work together as a firm-wide team, sharing best practices.
Responsibility: our past, present and future. Our fiduciary heritage and expertise in responsible investment ensure that our clients’ interests come first and that we support positive change in the wider world. We believe that investing responsibly is the best way to sustain long-term outperformance, and that it contributes to beneficial outcomes for investors, companies, society and the environment.
Responsibility works: for investors, for business, for positive change.
As pioneers of ESG integration and stewardship, we have been at the forefront of responsible investing since 1983. We aim to deliver sustainable wealth creation that enriches investors, benefits society and preserves the environment – for current generations and those to come.
The international business of Federated Hermes has long advocated and applied this approach.
Since first engaging for stronger UK corporate governance in 1983, to becoming a founding signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment in 2006 and spearheading the 2017 global Climate Action 100+ initiative, which involved 370 investors with more than $35tn in assets, we have been at the vanguard of a movement that is now redefining the practice of investing.
Federated Hermes is committed to incorporating ESG considerations as fundamental factors throughout its investment strategies. Through EOS at Federated Hermes (EOS), our specialist stewardship team that has a 15-year track record of effective engagement, we seek to advance best practice active ownership for the benefit of investors, companies and the world at large.
The role of the Responsibility Office
The Responsibility Office acts as the conscience of Federated Hermes and is responsible for ensuring that everyone delivers on our mission of delivering holistic returns. It works with the Investment Office to ensure that our investment and engagement teams integrate stewardship and ESG factors into their activities, develops and leads the implementation of our advocacy positions and holds each department accountable for ensuring that we act as a responsible firm and in the interests of the clients and their beneficiaries.
EOS is a leading stewardship service provider. Our engagement activities enable long-term institutional investors to be more active owners of their assets, through dialogue with companies on environmental, social and governance issues. We believe this is essential to build a global financial system that delivers improved long-term returns for investors, as well as better, more sustainable outcomes for society.
ESG investing is a fundamental commitment at Invesco. We believe that ESG aspects can have an impact on sustainable value creation as well as risk management, and that companies with ESG momentum may present investment opportunities.
Invesco S&P 500 ESG UCITS ETF
For investors seeking an ESG enhancement for their core US equity exposure.
In this video, Chris Mellor, Invesco and Jaspreet Duhra, S&P Dow Jones Indices discuss the key drivers for increasing demand in ESG investing, how the S&P 500 ESG index is constructed, and our Invesco S&P 500 ESG UCITS ETF.
Invesco GBP Corporate Bond ESG UCITS ETF
The Invesco GBP Corporate Bond ESG UCITS ETF is the first Sterling-denominated corporate bond ETF in Europe that incorporates ESG. In this video, Paul Syms and Maria Lombardo discuss Invesco’s approach to ESG, the ESG landscape within fixed income and how the ETF aims to provide close tracking and meaningful ESG tilting for only 0.10% p.a.
The Liontrust Sustainable Investment team have been managing money in this way for nearly 20 years. The 13-strong team’s investment process identifies the key structural growth trends that will shape the sustainable global economy of the future and the well run companies whose products and operations capitalise on these transformative changes.
The Liontrust Sustainable Investment team launched the Sustainable Future (SF) fund range in February 2001 at a time when there were some ethical and the odd environmental fund.
The Liontrust Sustainable Investment team manages 12 funds to meet the different risk profiles, return objectives and geographical preferences of investors. The range comprises:
Four equity funds
Three fixed income funds
Five managed funds with different exposures to equities, bonds and cash that are determined by the level of risk they take as measured by volatility
The team’s distinct investment process combines negative and positive screening and identifying the key structural growth trends that will shape the sustainable global economy of the future. The team looks at the world through the prism of three mega trends – Better resource efficiency (cleaner), Improved health (healthier) and Greater safety and resilience (safer) – and then 20 themes within these.
The team then identifies well run companies whose products and operations capitalise on these transformative changes. Every company that meets the team’s thematic requirements is assessed using its sustainability matrix. This analyses:
Product sustainability (rated from A to E): the extent to which a company’s business helps or harms society and/or the environment.
Management quality (rated from 1 to 5): whether a company has appropriate structures, policies and practices for managing ESG risks and impacts.
Companies must score C3 or higher.
A key differentiator for the team is the fact that all the sustainable elements are integrated within a single team. They do not have separate fund management and ESG divisions. Every team member is responsible for all aspects of financial and ESG relating to an investment decision. Because of this approach, the team engages with companies across a broad range of issues, including screening criteria, sustainable investment themes and company specific ESG issues.
The team ensures there is no greenwashing through:
Transparency: The Liontrust Sustainable Investment team has always been transparent, having a clear investment process and publishing all holdings in its SF funds on a quarterly basis.
Experience and resource: The team has been managing sustainable investment funds since 2001. The investment team is 13-strong, along with a specialist governance and stewardship manager.
Activism: Engagement is an integral part of how the team invests, and challenges and encourages companies to proactively manage the wider aspects of their business. In 2019, the team met with 185 companies face to face and raised 245 key ESG issues.
Evidence: Since 2015, the team have shown how themes and companies are contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The team shows the impact of their investments, such as the funds emitting 75% less carbon dioxide than the markets in which they are invested.
The team were founding members of the PRI and have a track record of successful engagement in areas such as climate change, clothing supply chains and tax.
Highlights of recent engagement activity include meaningful progress on board gender diversity. In 2016, the team began withholding support for companies that are not sufficiently gender diverse. Where companies had fewer than 15% women on the board, they voted against the annual report and accounts at the AGM and abstained where this was greater than 15% but less than 30%. In 2019, the team used the same process but focused on the resolution to re-elect the Chair of the Nomination Committee.
Twenty-one companies in the team’s funds have increased the proportion of women on the board to over 30%, such that they no longer need to withhold support. After voting, these companies now have an average of 38% female boards, compared to just 22% before they began voting. A further 15 companies in the funds have increased the number of women on their boards, and we remain positive that continued efforts through voting and engagement should result in further progress.
The team’s latest initiative is the One and a Half Degree Transition Challenge that was launched in early 2020. This is calling for all companies held within the SF funds to explain how they plan to decarbonise their businesses to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Over 200 companies held across the funds have until the end of 2020 to provide a plan for how they are going to reach zero carbon emissions and over what time period this will be achieved. The team will use all measures at their disposal, including voting and ultimately divesting over time, to persuade companies to reduce their emissions.
1. SDGs video from our Sustainable landing page:
2. Video from recent Responsible Investor event:
3. Video with one of our Sustainable team, Mike Appleby, filmed for the SimplyBiz virtual events a few weeks back:
Our commitment to responsible investment In our view, responsibility goes hand in hand with a long-term, partnership approach. It means having a sense of responsibility and integrity not only towards the present generation, but also to future generations – and to the real economy and the wider world. This is true sustainable thinking.
Our commitment to responsible investment
In our view, responsibility goes hand in hand with a long-term, partnership approach. It means having a sense of responsibility and integrity not only towards the present generation, but also to future generations – and to the real economy and the wider world. This is true sustainable thinking.
We believe in responsible capitalism and take an enlarged view of the economy and its interactions with civil society and the natural environment. We are convinced that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations can help us make better long-term investment decisions for our clients
We are committed to integrating material ESG criteria in our investment processes and ownership practices with a view to enhancing returns and/or mitigating risks over the long term. We embed ESG in our risk management and reporting documents to maintain high standards of transparency and accountability. Today, all our active long-only equity and fixed income investment strategies incorporate ESG considerations.
For investors willing to go further, our sustainable strategies invest in companies based on their social and environmental impact, as well as their financial prospects. We also have a range of thematic strategies that invest in companies helping to solve environmental and social challenges such as water scarcity and climate change.
Performance that doesn’t have to cost the planet: Pictet-Global Environmental Opportunities
Sustainability is a crucial part of the business of Robeco. We were a pioneer of sustainable investing as one of the first asset managers to start taking it seriously in the mid-1990s. ESG factors are now integrated into the investment process for our entire fundamental equities, fixed income, quantitative and bespoke sustainability fund ranges.
We know that sustainability is a long-term force for change and a driver to integrate ESG across our investment solutions, actively engage with companies, and work on real impact.
By diving deeper to understand dynamics and impact, our comprehensive sustainable approach leads to better-informed investment decisions. Creating better returns – and looking after the world we live in.
Our long commitment to sustainability often leads to external recognition: Robeco ranked first place for SI in the renowned ShareAction survey of 75 global asset managers.
Trium Capital is dedicated to achieving the best possible risk-adjusted returns for its investors. We believe that ESG and RI are important tools for alpha generation and that this integral part of the investment process helps achieve good outcomes for our investors, and the planet.
One of Trium’s strategies, Trium ESG Emissions Impact, relies directly on constructive engagement with companies to both further ESG objectives and create alpha. It is the Portfolio Manager’s belief that active engagement drives alpha generation whilst reducing carbon emissions.
The Trium ESG Emissions Impact Fund is an Equity Market Neutral strategy that seeks to deliver alpha driven absolute returns with low correlation to other asset classes and existing ESG products.
The Portfolio Manager invests in companies which have the potential to significantly improve their environmental footprint relative to both their peers and the broader European market through active engagement and support. The Portfolio Manager expects to be carbon neutral to net short carbon on average and may invest in European Emissions credits to help achieve this.
The Portfolio Manager is taking a unique approach to ESG investing. Whereas traditional ESG portfolios rely on negative screens, the Trium ESG Emissions Impact Fund takes the view that:
“If you want to fix a problem, you have to go to where the problem is.” The Fund is very focused on the “E” in ESG, specifically emissions reduction, as the Portfolio Manager sees this as being an area of great importance that has not been the focus of Alternatives managers.
The Fund leverages on the Portfolio Manager’s 20+ years of experience in industries where a large proportion of global emissions originates from. We target the high-emitting sectors: energy, resources, materials, utilities, industrials and transport. This universe is c.30% of the overall European equity market and represents c.90% of emissions. The main focus is currently in Europe, with selected exposure in North America and Australia.
As the Portfolio Manager, says, “Do you want a clean portfolio, or do you want to clean the Planet?”