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ESG, pension fund investment, public policy, and the future


Over 60 delegates from around the world, drawn from academe, industry, government and the research community, have participated in the CEPAR-UNSW Business School Forum on ‘Connections: ESG, Pension Fund Investment, Public Policy and the Future', which was hosted online by CEPAR in collaboration with the UNSW Business School on 22 July 2022.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are receiving increasing attention in the financial, investment management and policy community. Climate change and its environmental impact poses major challenges for society; social justice issues such as reducing exploitative and unfair labour conditions are gaining increasing profile among consumers; and the complexity of the external environment requires better governance.

Pension funds, and in particular their investment policies and priorities, are at the centre of these developments.

Led by CEPAR Director Scientia Professor John Piggott, the CEPAR-UNSW Business School Forum brought together researchers, industry practicioners, regulators and policymakers to explore connections that pension funds and policymakers need to make between pension assets and ESG considerations, as well as with social objectives.

The aim of the Forum was to advance thinking and debate on how to implement ESG most effectively in coming years. Issues such as the appropriate level and scope of ESG, issues of measurement and regulation, and the relative weights that should be accorded the various domains of ESG were explored.

The Forum comprised presentations from academic and institutional experts Nick Barr, Professor of Public Economics at the London School of Economics; André Laboul, Chief Policy Advisor of the International Organisation of Pensions Supervisors (IOPS); and Warwick McKibbin, Distinguished Professor of Economics and CEPAR Director of Policy Engagement at the Australian National University. The session was chaired by CEPAR Deputy Director Hazel Bateman, Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School.

This was followed by a Discussion Panel comprising practice professionals Amy Auster, Partner, State Government Funds, PwC; Joanna Chang, Investment Risk Specialist, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA); and Liza McDonald, Head of Responsible Investments, Aware Super. The Panel was chaired and moderated by CEPAR Advisory Board Chair Marc de Cure, Adjunct Professor, CEPAR, UNSW Business School.

Video recordings and presentation slides are available online here.