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Bennelong goes above and beyond net-zero

Bennelong Funds Management has become Climate Positive, offsetting 200% of its operational emissions and eclipsing the net-zero commitments of many of its financial institution counterparts.

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As part of a broader strategy to make the organisation more sustainable, Bennelong has measured the carbon footprint of its energy use, waste, travel and suppliers, and purchased carbon credits through Australian, female-founded, climate-tech startup trace, to not just become ‘carbon neutral’, but go beyond this commitment to become ‘Climate Positive’.

For trace and Bennelong, Climate Positive means more than just offsetting more emissions than are produced; it signifies an approach to climate-conscious business that’s transparent, engaging and accessible, allowing staff, customers and stakeholders to be active participants in making change.

Bennelong’s Chief Client Strategy Officer Amara Haqqani cites these qualities as one of the core reasons why the organisation selected trace as its partner of choice to take this step. “At Bennelong, the principles of sustainable development are integrated across our entire way of working. It was important that our approach to net-zero incorporated staff engagement and tangible impact – rather than being treated as a box to be ticked – and trace was the ideal partner to achieve that,” she said.

To demonstrate its commitment to enhancing the organisation’s sustainability beyond public statements and strategies, Bennelong has also engaged trace to run an employee carbon footprint engagement campaign to bring staff ‘along the Climate Positive journey’ with them. This includes delivering educational content and tips, powered by an online platform for the team that encourages them to pledge to reduce their personal emissions through actions such as eating more plant-based food or switching to low-emissions transport options.

Co-founder of trace, Joanna Auburn, noted that Bennelong is the first of its business members to not just offset 100% of its footprint (or slightly more), but to offset 200% of its footprint and use the initiative as a foundation for amplifying impact across the business. “Most organisations that make net-zero pledges and offset their emissions do so in a siloed fashion - usually led by management and operationalised by a sustainability or marketing team, without engaging the broader team on the decision-making process, or educating them on how they as individuals can contribute to making a positive impact. An organisation of Bennelong’s size has the potential to significantly amplify its impact simply by looping in its employees, and giving them the knowledge and tools they need to contribute”, she said.

Bennelong’s CEO, Craig Bingham, said trace and Bennelong are looking forward to exploring other opportunities through their partnership, including expanding the Climate Positive initiative to Bennelong’s portfolio of boutique asset management partners, and potentially its overseas operations in the UK and US (operating as BennBridge).

“In an era when social justice, climate change and heightened regulations are front of mind for investors across the globe, it’s important for fund managers to look beyond purely commercial objectives to ways in which they can influence societal change for the better. We’re continuing to explore this space with our partners across the globe, and are committed to supporting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Craig.

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