Demonstrating our Commitment to the Environment through our Investing

BSBI is very lucky to have an investment portfolio which provides crucial financial resources to help us reach financial sustainability and deliver our vision for a world where wild plants thrive and are valued.

Although there are no legal, Charity Commission for England and Wales (CC) or Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) requirements to adopt an ethical investing stance, we are committed to Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) investment strategies which promote the protection and health of the natural environment through investing. This commitment is carefully balanced with the desire to optimise total return from investments to secure all the important work BSBI does for botany now and in the future.

BSBI’s professional Investment Manager, RBC Brewin Dolphin, has advised charities for more than 65 years and, under its guidance, BSBI has set out its position to ethical investing here: Ethical Position Statement (EPS)

RBCBD engages with companies, Unit Trusts and Investment Trusts to drive positive change which is often around environmental considerations. Their most recent annual Stewardship and Engagement Report can be found here: RBCBD Stewardship and Engagement Report 2023 where you can read about the work to fight micro-plastic pollution (page 32), their approach to net zero (page 28) and their engagement work with Climate Action100+ (page 38)

BSBI’s Finance Committee holds RBCBD to account to demonstrate the ways in which BSBI’s investment portfolio is committed to the environment and, using their Autumn 2023 analysis, we ascertained these important features of our portfolio & a positive direction of travel:

  1. 89% of the underlying investments held within RBCBD’s collective funds have an ESG risk rating of medium or lower
  2. Less than 50% of the underlying benchmark exposure to companies involved in fossil fuels based on revenues
  3. 0% exposure to companies who have over 10% or more of revenues involved in the production &/or distribution of palm oil
  4. 1% exposure to companies who have over 10% or more of revenues involved in growing genetically modified crops or the development and/or cultivation of genetically modified seeds and/or plants

With the update of the CC’s investment guidance document CC14 in August 2023, the Board was pleased to finally see formal support for what we have been striving towards; proactive charities like BSBI can now formally invest in alignment with their charitable objectives. In issuing this update, Helen Stephenson CBE, CEO Charity Commission, helpfully said this:

"We want to stress that investment approaches are your decision to make, and this guidance is designed to help you do so with confidence, and in line with the law… may opt to take issues such as sustainability or climate impact into account, provided it is in the best interests of your charity.”

Should you be interested in any of the above & BSBI’s continued commitment to the environment through its investing, please contact either:

Anthony Thomas, BSBI Trustee & Chair of Finance Committee,
or Julie Etherington, BSBI Finance Manager.