Breakthrough Victoria became a signatory to the United Nations-supported (UN) Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) on 27 July this year. Becoming a signatory to the PRI is an important milestone in our path to responsible investment and then impact investing. We are delighted to join over 5000 signatories globally, collectively managing over US$121 trillion.

What is the PRI?

The Principles for Responsible Investment is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. It works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and to support its international network of investor signatories to incorporate these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The PRI acts in the long-term interests of its signatories, of the financial markets and economies in which they operate and of the environment and society as a whole.

As a signatory to the PRI, Breakthrough Victoria is formalising our commitment to aligning our capital with our purpose.

David Atkin, PRI CEO, commented: “We are very pleased to welcome Breakthrough Victoria as a PRI signatory. As an independent company managing the Victorian Government’s $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund, and as a PRI asset owner signatory, the organisation’s commitment to sustainable investing is to be commended. We look forward to working with the team.”

How does this relate to Breakthrough Victoria’s investment objectives?

Breakthrough Victoria invests in innovation for impact. We target positive impact through the intentional allocation of our capital into companies and funds that are delivering positive outcomes for the future of Victorians and our environment. In selecting potential investments, we screen out harmful activities and seek opportunities to make positive contributions to ESG through investments in our five key sectors.

We are committed to work with the companies we invest in to help them embed ESG and sustainability considerations into their practices from the start. There are significant benefits for portfolio companies to get ahead of the curve and embed ESG practices early. This will ultimately make them more attractive to both customers, buyers, and investors in the future.

Sally McCutchan, Breakthrough Victoria’s Executive Director, Portfolio Management commented: “Becoming a signatory to the PRI marks a significant step in our journey to formalise responsible investment practices, and become an impact investor. We are making a commitment to uphold the six principles of the PRI, as well as publicly report on our progress.

“We are delighted to join a growing group of investors globally that recognise and consider the ESG implication of investment decisions, and deploy their capital accordingly. We look forward to contributing and working with this global community to bring best practice and positive outcomes to Victoria."

Importantly, our commitment to responsible investment starts from within our own organisation. We are seeking to embed our values throughout our organisation’s policies and practices, and holding ourselves accountable to the same expectations we have of our investees.

We are starting by establishing our ESG practices including measuring our environmental footprint, reviewing our diversity, equity and inclusion practices, and ensuring our governance processes are fit for purpose.

Finally, as an investor, we recognise we have the potential to influence other ecosystem actors to invest responsibly. We actively use this opportunity to share our learnings with a range of investors in Victoria and nationally, all willing to advance towards common ESG reporting practices.

Ultimately, we seek to mature into a market-leading impact investor. Impact investors intentionally target investments which create measurable positive social or environmental solutions which deliver commercial returns. This ambitious journey will only be possible with the help of our values aligned employees, portfolio companies, shareholders, partners and collaborators.