Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Octopus is a group of companies investing in the people, ideas and industries that will help to change the world for the better. For nearly two decades we’ve been challenging convention, backing companies, and turning bright ideas into game-changing businesses with one purpose – to create something better. Better ways to help UK businesses to grow. Better ways to look after family wealth. Better healthcare and retirement facilities. Better access to property loans. And better renewable energy generation and supply. Overall, we’ve helped put more than £7.5 billion into the UK economy. And because our customers are at the heart of everything we do, we’re making a difference to people’s lives. We call it ‘a brighter way’ – changing today, for a better tomorrow.
We build businesses to transform industries and create better outcomes for the customers those businesses serve. As a result, we believe in a responsible and considered approach to environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters that takes into account the interests of our investors and stakeholders. As a prominent investor in growth businesses, healthcare real estate and renewable energy assets in the UK, we believe that there is an intrinsic alignment across our business lines with such an approach.
This ESG group policy sets out our approach to identifying and managing ESG matters generally and to achieve transparency for our investors.
We acknowledge that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to ESG. As the nature of the ESG issues affecting us, our investors, our business lines and the wider business environment evolves, we will revisit and, if appropriate, update this Group Policy.
Given the range of business lines within our group, the Group Policy will be supported by separate business-level policies, which will be tailored to the risks and processes applicable to individual business lines.
We will incorporate the following principles (the “Principles”) throughout our business, specifically through the implementation of this Group Policy and each of our Business-Level Policies. We will seek to carry on business in a manner that:
- complies with applicable laws and respects international good practice;
- provides safe and healthy working conditions for employees and contractors;
- establishes and maintains communication channels between employees and management to provide employees with the opportunity to present their views to management;
- promotes the fair treatment of all employees, irrespective of matters such as race, gender, nationality, disability, political or religious beliefs;
- recognises the importance of the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment;
- considers the impact of any operations on local communities and seeks to ensure that potentially adverse health and safety, environmental and social effects are appropriately assessed, monitored and addressed;
- upholds high standards of business integrity and honesty and ensures that we do not directly or indirectly offer, pay, solicit or accept bribes in any form in either the public or private sector and to implement an anti-bribery and corruption compliance programme;
- implements social and environmental policies and procedures which enable identification, management and monitoring of any risks and provides a framework for action; and
- seek a ‘just transition’ for workers and communities as the world’s economy responds to climate change.
Further, we have become signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. The Principles for Responsible Investment were developed by an international group of institutional investors reflecting the increasing relevance of environmental, social and corporate governance issues to investment practices. The process was convened by the United Nations Secretary-General.
Therefore, where consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities, we commit to the following:
- Principle 1: We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
- Principle 2: We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
- Principle 3: We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
- Principle 4: We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
- Principle 5: We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
Principle 6: We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.
Responsibility and oversight
The Audit and Risk Committee (the “ARC“) constituted by the Executive Committee of Octopus Capital Limited will have overall responsibility for the ESG performance of the group. The ARC has created a dedicated ESG sub-committee, which will comprise, an Octopus founder, the Head of Risk and Compliance for the Group, Head of Institutional Funds, the Group Responsible Officer and where relevant representatives from across the Octopus group.
When assessing ESG performance, the ARC and the ESG Committee will be informed by relevant global initiatives and instruments, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Core Conventions of the International Labour Organisation, the IFC Performance Standards and the Equator Principles.
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