Sustainability report highlights New Forests' ethical approach
Generating value for all stakeholders including investors, communities, and the environment.
NEW FORESTS has released its fifth annual public sustainability report, which highlights progress the company has made under its Sustainable Landscape Investment framework. New Forests’ 2016 Sustainability Report describes environmental and social impacts across the company’s investment funds and their relationship to key issues such as climate change, biodiversity, and community engagement.
“With each sustainability report New Forests publishes, we aim to ensure our sustainability reporting keeps up with the complexity and diversity of our growing investment portfolio and the changing needs of our clients,” New Forests’ CEO David Brand said of the report. “Throughout 2016 we saw increasing investor interest in understanding how portfolios align with the Sustainable Development Goals and action on climate change. Our 2016 Sustainability Report sheds light on these issues with quantitative data via the use of impact metrics as well as stories and insights into the people we work with, the communities where we operate, and the changing sustainability context of forestry investment.”
“New Forests understands that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information is not only vital for our business and our clients but also for other stakeholders, including local communities, our partners throughout the supply chain, and civil society,” said MaryKate Bullen, Associate Director, Sustainability & Communications, who authored the report.
“We now have more than 3,600 people working in our investments spanning six countries and across 843,000 hectares,” she said.
“This means that while our responsibility as a fiduciary starts with our clients, it also extends to a broad range of stakeholders. With this in mind we aim for transparency in our ESG disclosures and to make sure this information is relevant and accessible for those who are interested in and affected by our investment activities.”
In 2016 New Forests launched an internal Sustainability Working Group responsible for the planning, development, and coordination of New Forests’ Sustainable Landscape Investment framework and shared value initiatives.
The Sustainable Landscape Investment framework was designed to support investment performance through an integrated focus on the areas of productivity, ecosystem services, land use planning, shared prosperity, risk management, and governance.
New Forests’ 2016 Sustainability Report is organised around these six ESG themes and uses impact reporting metrics and case studies from each of New Forests’ investment programs operating in Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the United States.
Highlights from the 2016 report include:
• 843,000 hectares under management
• 39% of all investments by area are managed for protection and conservation
With more than 400,000 hectares of plantation forests, 6.3 million tonnes of certified timber products were produced and/or processed by New Forests’ investments
96% of the timber sold was certified to thirdparty forest management standards
The total number of people employed in investment operations was more than 3,600, including permanent and contract workers
New Forests also reports on its responsible investment activities on an annual basis through the reporting and assessment framework of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The company received an A+ rating in its 2016 PRI assessment, which is available on New Forests’ website.
Brand concluded: “New Forests seeks to generate value for all stakeholders in our business, including investors, communities, and the environment. To realise this outcome, we know that we must continue to set targets, measure our performance, and be accountable for the outcomes and impacts of our business. We hope this 2016 Sustainability Report reflects these goals and furthers the growing dialogue around how institutional investment can respond to challenges such as forest conservation, climate change mitigation, maintenance of biodiversity, shared prosperity and poverty alleviation, and the imperative for sustainable development.”
New Forests seeks to generate value for all stakeholders in our business, including investors, communities, and the environment.
■ MaryKate Bullen.
■ David Brand