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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

17 July 2003

Embargo 1 am Thursday 17 July 2003

Investment Heavyweights Join Government on Sustainability Push

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced an important new initiative between government and some of the nation's leading investment companies that aims to deepen the understanding of links between investors and corporate sustainability.

Corporate sustainability is about taking into account all the factors that affect a company's future success. By being better placed to manage the environmental and social risks of their activities, businesses are also more likely to improve their profitability and competitiveness.

Dr Kemp said the Federal Government had committed $30,000 for a new research project that will examine investor perspectives on corporate sustainability, and better identify sustainability risks and opportunities where there is a link to investment outcomes.

Dr Kemp said the research project will be led by BT Financial Group, with the findings from the study used to prepare a report on why it is important for investors to pay closer attention to corporate sustainability performance. BT will be assisted by an advisory committee comprising representatives of ABN AMRO Morgans, AMP Henderson, IAG and Sustainable Asset Management (SAM).

"The links between corporate sustainability and financial performance are of increasing interest to investors however more work is required to enhance awareness," Dr Kemp said. "The Howard Government has been working with business to improve understanding of sustainability issues, which promise to deliver positive outcomes for the community as well as actively supporting a financial and environmental win-win."

The report, Investor Perspectives on Corporate Sustainability, will be developed under the stewardship of Mr Shaun Mays, company director. Mr Mays is a former investment analyst, and had a distinguished career at the helm of some of Australia's largest investment managers, including Potter Warburg and Commonwealth and Westpac Investment Management.

The report will be based around case studies of corporate sustainability being developed by the BT Governance Advisory Service. The case studies range in both business type and size, recognising that sustainability is not a "one size fits all" business strategy.

Mr Mays said: "In today's global economy, managing sustainability risks and opportunities is simply part of good management. What a sustainability perspective offers is a deeper knowledge of management, and that's highly valuable to investors."

Dr Kemp said he expects the report to be launched in September.

Commonwealth of Australia