Sus­tain­abil­ity re­port high­lights New Forests' eth­i­cal ap­proach

Gen­er­at­ing value for all stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing in­vestors, com­mu­ni­ties, and the en­vi­ron­ment.

Australian Forests and Timber - - In the News -

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

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