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Australian investors linked to global impact

A social enterprises investment surpluses are being used to provide grants for community programs

An ethical investor and social enterprise has found that an increase in investments of global sustainability returns can fund community programs and social issues.

The UCA Funds Management’s latest annual report illustrated that investors are now supporting the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). The social enterprise grants most of their operating surplus to community and mission activities.

UCA Funds Management’s Chief Executive Officer, Mathew Browning, said they are looking to increase the annual grants in years to come.

“Our mission is to create better investments and a better world. Part of achieving a better world is ensuring we focus on supporting social, environmental and governance initiatives such as Sustainability Development Goals.”

Funds received by UCA Funds Management is used to meet operating costs, provide grants and build working capital. In 2017, the organisation granted $3.9 million to SDG aligned programs, including those that address gender inequality and climate change.

The ethical fund manager has distributed several grants in the past, with most of their operating surplus granted annually to advocacy, mission and community services. Since 1995, more than $58 million has been provided in external grants.

“We address key social issues important to our investors through advocacy campaigns and by supporting programs tackling these issues,” the annual report read.

“Our ethical investing approach focuses on impacting the world around us for the better. We exclude and engage with companies involved in negative practices or industries, and support companies which have a positive impact.”

The annual report also made note of what social issues are most important to Uniting Church members. The top three were people seeking asylum, curbing social change and justice for indigenous Australians. Mental health and poverty were also concerns.

Three of the least addressed goals in corporate sustainability reporting were also included. These are zero hunger, life below water and life on land.

“Our investors want to be change-makers, investing in a better tomorrow,” Browning said. “We are humbled that our ever-growing number of investors trust us to deliver on their investment ideals.”

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