Responsible Investment Te haepapa o te haumitanga

The Guardians is committed to being a responsible investor. We do this because we believe that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are material to long-term returns, both as a source of opportunities and a means of managing investment risks. 

Alongside maximising returns without undue risk and best practice portfolio management, our governing legislation requires us to invest the Fund in a manner that avoids prejudice to New Zealand's reputation as a responsible member of the world community.

Extensive information about our approach to responsible investment is available on our website.


Achievements and Priorities

Key priorities this year were the implementation of our climate change strategy, reviewing our listed equity voting policy and continuing to embed RI responsibilities, skills and processes into the investment team.

Next year, we will focus on:

  • continuing the implementation of our climate change strategy;
  • strengthening ESG integration across the investment team; and
  • implementing the revised listed equity voting policy.


UNPRI Benchmarking Report

The UNPRI supports signatories’ efforts in their implementation of the Principles for Responsible Investment through an annual reporting and assessment process based on standardised indicators. Reporting is mandatory for all asset owners such as the Fund.

We were very pleased to receive an A+ rating from the UNPRI for overall RI governance and strategy, and A+ or A ratings in all other categories in which we reported. We reported against seven categories this year, compared with eight in 2016. We decided not to report on our RI activities as they relate to private equity due to the decrease in exposure to this asset class.

ModuleGlobal median2017 level2016 Level2015 level
NZSF Score Out of Maximum Possible
Strategy and GovernanceAA+A+A+


- Listed EquityBA+A+A38/39
- Fixed Income (Sovereigns/Supranationals and Agencies)CAAnr30/36
- Fixed Income - Corporate Non-FinancialCAAnr30/36
- Fixed Income - SecuritisedEAAnr30/36
- Private Equity-nr Anr-
 Direct and Active Ownership:
- Listed Equity - IncorporationAA+A+nr

Screening: 15/15

Integration: 18/18

- Listed Equity - Active Ownership BAAA25/27

 nr=not reported


Palm Oil

What is palm oil and what are some of the main issues with its use?

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, native to West Africa. Its versatility and high productivity have made it a popular choice in the production of edible oil and consumer products. The WWF estimates that 50% of products in the supermarket contain palm oil, including margarine, toothpaste, lipstick, soap, detergent, chocolate, biscuits and bread. The increasing use of palm oil is controversial. Unsustainable farming practices at palm oil plantations raise concerns about environmental, human rights and other social consequences of its production. The issues range from, for example, deforestation or the illegal clearing of land, the release of carbon during the conversion of peat lands into palm oil plantations, biodiversity loss and air pollution.

How has the New Zealand Super Fund responded to these issues?

Our Responsible Investment Framework includes an ongoing commitment to engagement as the best way of encouraging companies to change their practices and policies.

Read our Palm Oil case study (PDF 562KB)