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Ethical Investment Policy

Purpose

Aston University strives to retain its status as an inspirational and fair place to work and study. Promoting commendable values including social and environmental responsibility and exemplar ethical practice.
Aston University is committed to ensuring that all investment decisions are made responsibly with the primary guiding principle of generating funds, through both income generation and capital growth. Both of which will be used to further the work of the University.

As with orthodox sustainability practise, in making investment decisions; environmental, social and economic factors will be considered.

Scope

Aston University recognises ethical investment as being the act of investing in activities which make a positive contribution to the environment, society and corporate governance both today and for future generations.

Aston University’s Ethical Investment Policy shall apply to all investment decisions being made by the University and its subsidiary entities, including the use of any investment fund managers where the University has the authority to appoint such bodies.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Treasury Management Policy as the majority of Aston University’s investments are surplus cash funds invested through money market deposits with UK financial institutions.

The Ethical Investment Policy must be adhered to by all staff, students and stakeholders of the University. Aston University staff and students may propose amendments to the policy via their representatives on the Finance and Major Projects committee.

All proposed amendments will be considered annually by the Finance and Major Projects Committee, concurrent with its review of the Ethical Investment Policy.

The Finance and Major Projects Committee shall consider annually the progress against the objectives set out within objectives in this policy.

Aston University publishes details of its investments in its statutory accounts and it’s Ethical Investment Policy on its publicly available website to ensure transparent communication with its stakeholders. Any person with good reason to believe that Aston University is conducting its investments other than in accordance with the above policy, may report their concerns through the Aston University whistleblowing process.

Aston University is a member of multi-employer pension schemes constituted as separate legal entities with their own trustees and corporate governance procedures. Pension scheme funds are therefore invested entirely separately from the University and thus not included in this policy.

Policy

Aston University is committed to the following:

Screening investments on ethical grounds; with the provision that, if the activities of a company are, on ethical grounds inconsistent with the objectives of the University, then the University may choose not to invest even though this may reduce returns.

Not engage in any investment which might hamper the work of Aston, either by alienating financial supporters or potential financial supporters, or by having a material impact on applications from potential students.

Not engage in any investment which, while not excluded by virtue of the above, is considered by Aston to be unethical.

Seek investment opportunities with companies who have demonstrated a positive record of ethical performance. This can be postulated from respective companies’ compliance with CSR and Sustainability reporting standards respectively.

Engage with companies in which it considers investing, and where appropriate use its influence to encourage ethical standards, practices and lines of business acceptable to the University.
Monitor the University’s investments annually to ensure that ethical standards are maintained.

When required, commit to using an ethical fund manager and to increase the proportion of positive investments

Approved by Finance & Major Projects Committee, 13th March 2017