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Posted by:
James Cook, CIO

Bringing people and planet to the fore at U Ethical

U Ethical has undergone an exhaustive process over the last twelve months, seeking to bring to the fore what is important to our people and our clients. This has been built around the principal of delivering competitive investment returns while doing the right thing by communities and the planet.
The idea of all our people signing up to The Banking and Finance Oath (The BFO) was well received throughout the office. Given most of our people had purposely joined the organisation in recognition of our very deliberate ethical investment approach and our underlying values, there was some disquiet at the time from daily releases surrounding the Hayne Banking Royal Commission. We had always undertaken considerable effort to be an active responsible investor but also one that exercised the highest possible standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. The Royal Commission findings, many of which highlighted the egregious behaviour within our industry, were challenging to all.
The signing of The BFO has helped reinforce the sense of pride our staff have felt through being involved in U Ethical – despite the surrounding limitations and noise at the time. Taking the pledge instilled a sense of validation amongst the team at U Ethical, helping realise what it was that makes us different from the broader investment community. Although we all knew that as a not-for-profit social enterprise, most of our operating surplus is granted to support social justice advocacy and community programs, the flak the industry was copping at the time was beginning to take its toll. Taking the Oath definitely lifted a sense of pride and helped validate our position within the banking and investment community as an ethical investor.
The other material impact from taking the Oath, was that in conjunction with our certification as a B Corporation, where we enjoyed the highest ‘B impact score’ of any Australian financial institution, we were able to extend our role as ethical leaders in the industry. Since inception, we have worked to create a better world by investing with purpose. The Oath was a timely reminder of the duty and care required to fulfil our aims.
With all individual team members of U Ethical taking the Oath, it all added to the fresh new emerging approach we aspire to now evident in our new brand, evolving ethical investment policy and broader client reach.

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