Impact report 2022
Growing and protecting environmental, social and financial capital
What is Embedded Impact®?
Aurum is an Embedded Impact® business where donations are structured to proportionately increase as firm AUM increases. Donations are made to selected environmental and humanitarian charities.
This ensures that as we grow and prosper as a business, we are using this success to create meaningful, positive impact.
Aurum also offers two specific Embedded Impact® Funds where donations are made by Aurum from advisor fees.
Aurum’s ESG Approach
The Aurum group has always had a strong and committed approach to sustainability, both in the way we run our business and in our approach to social responsibility. You can download our ESG Policy here, and read about our recent Alternative ESG Symposium here.
Our purpose as a business is to grow and protect capital. Not only our clients’ capital, but also environmental capital; our planet and species and social capital; healthcare and education. We express this through Embedded Impact®.
Environmental protection and justice
More Than Carbon
In 2015 the Synchronicity Earth More Than Carbon programme was created in collaboration with Aurum.
The More Than Carbon programme is an initiative to create strategic funding partnerships between corporates and environmental non-government organisations (“NGOs”) in order to regenerate natural habitats.
The programme offers users the option to select from a portfolio of pre-vetted, NGOs that engage in environmental conservation and are subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation. This provides a scalable solution to offsetting Aurum’s carbon footprint, while enhancing biodiversity. It can be adopted by anyone looking to engage in environmental philanthropy.
Acumen takes a different approach to investing. Rather than investing in traditional capital, Acumen invests in philanthropic, or “patient”, capital that provides start-ups the flexibility and security to grow their businesses.
By making seed and early-stage investments, this enables social enterprises to validate their assumptions, bring products and services to market, and begin to scale. To help their invested companies grow and scale, Acumen provides guidance in the areas of strategy, governance, customer insights and fundraising.
A key part of Acumen’s offering is their Academy -where they provide courses to young social entrepreneurs across the globe to become social leaders and go on to operate their own NGO’s or other initiatives to tackle challenges within their local communities.
This is about supporting change at a fundamental level by ‘growing’ social entrepreneurs and facilitating their development.
Bermuda Zoological Society – Black Mangroves
The Black Mangrove is native to Bermuda and was made a protected species in 2011, due to their rapid decline due to storm damage and coastal development. Aurum’s donation to the Bermuda Zoological Society (‘BZS’) will be used to create a saltwater pond to support the growth of Black Mangroves.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”)
Donations which help to cover the core costs of the IUCN are crucial for delivery of a range of activities: maintenance of the Red List of Threatened Species, innovation in programme development and delivery, championing nature’s role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Aurum’s donation to core funding allows the organisation to remain strategic and deliver its mission to ‘Influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.’
IUCN: Change Initiators
The key messages from the IUCN Congress are: that nature is a powerful ally in the fight against societal challenges – starting with climate change, and that investing in Nature-based Solutions provides a cost-effective and accessible way to address both adaptation and mitigation simultaneously.
IUCN shared this message at Rome’s G20, and called on world leaders to step up efforts and live up to their role and commit to a truly nature-based recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
IUCN further promoted this message at COP26 in Glasgow, where it worked alongside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change high-level Champions for Climate action to accelerate Nature-based Solutions. This was part of a historic effort to mobilise the water community and partners in the global climate action community to debut the COP’s ﬁrst-ever Water & Climate Pavilion.
Freshwater habitats host some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. However, they are facing an urgent but largely unrecognised conservation crisis. The people and wildlife that are most impacted by their rapid loss and degradation are not receiving the attention or support they need to avoid further declines. This degradation has been exacerbated by dams which can have a devastating impact on freshwater ecosystems by submerging forests, impacting migratory patterns of ﬁsh and drying up riverbeds.
The Synchronicity Earth Ocean Programme channels support to locally-led grassroots organisations, whilst at the same time funding strategic research and advocacy to build a joined-up response to key threats and challenges facing the ocean. The last year has seen the addition of ﬁve new partners to the programme working in: the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. This includes work on building connections between traditional cultures and marine conservation under the Communities and Culture strand, and targeted work on seagrasses in the Species and Ecosystems strand.
Synchronicity Earth’s Asian Species Programme has ten current partners and focuses on three areas:
- supporting on-the-ground species conservation over the long-term,
- building species conservation capacity so groups are better equipped to protect threatened species,
- supporting the collection and dissemination of knowledge and research to support conservationists and decision makers.
Wildscreen – Communicating COP26
Wildscreen has a worldwide reach and uses this to spotlight the crucial role that visual media plays in communicating complex but critical science.
Communicating COP26 discussed how natural world storytellers can do this effectively; from documenting intangible impacts, engaging audiences and minimising production footprint.
The event included 25 speakers representing a variety of sectors, from finance to film making, charity to conservation. Wildscreen hosted a full day of panel sessions, interviews and screenings delving into vital topics around the climate crisis and providing concrete actions which delegates could take to protect the planet.
Living Nature – Three day event series
A week before the COP26 climate change conference, Living Nature brought together leading artists, scientists and indigenous representatives to explore questions such as what can humans learn from the rest of life? What do creativity and diversity bring to a threatened planet? Why is it critical to listen to indigenous voices now?Through talks, discussions, screenings, and listening sessions, the audience spent three days considering the future of human-nature relationships through a lens of art, science and indigenous wisdom.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Biocultural diversity programme
Biological and cultural diversity are deeply intertwined, due to society’s reliance on, and relationship with, nature. There is now solid evidence to support the fact that indigenous people and local communities protect huge swathes of land and water through, often unrecognised, traditional systems of protection and regeneration. This is especially important in the current ecological and climate crises we face, as 80% of Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity falls within lands managed by indigenous peoples and local communities. If the international community can better support the people living among the species and ecosystems that are needed for all life on earth to sustain, then progress towards biodiversity and climate targets could be much more readily achieved.
One to One Children’s Fund
Around the world, children are living with trauma and disease. The impact on their life chances can be devastating. One to One Children’s Fund trains and empowers people who can best fill the critical gaps in care. This is by providing relatable role models to make healthcare more inclusive.
Adara – Baby Ubuntu
Adara implements the Baby Ubuntu programme in Uganda, in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (‘LSHTM’). This programme is an early-intervention, community-based programme that supports children with a disability and their caregivers. It ensures caregivers understand their child’s disability and provides them with practical skills to help feed, communicate and play with the child. This community-based programme is led by healthcare workers and expert parents that have a child with a disability.
Hope and Homes for Children
In 2021, Aurum continued to support HHC via The Seneca Trust which receives Embedded Impact donations . The Seneca Trust is a charity focused on disability, health, displacement and education.
While orphanages and other institutions may have been set up with good intentions, the evidence shows that the damage caused to children living in institutions is both physical and mental, and in most cases irreparable. This provides an urgency to ensuring children are placed within families or alternative family-type arrangements.
Food For Thought (Africa)
AFFT believes in supporting families caring for orphaned and vulnerable children. Early childhood development nutrition and a nurturing environment are critical components in a person’s life. By removing food insecurity, children are able to learn more easily and a signiﬁcant improvement in academic, sporting and social integration can be seen.
The programme matches young unaccompanied refugees from countries including Eritrea, Afghanistan and Sudan with a safe adult to build a friendship. This helps to improve their English language skills, grow their self-esteem and self-conﬁdence in order to navigate their way around London and the asylum process. Pairs go for walks, explore London, do activities with other pairs, practice English, look at homework or paperwork, or just sit and chat over coffee or a meal.
In 2021 Aurum continued to provide support for Windreach’s programmes. WindReach is a fully-accessible four acre facility that offers a variety of therapeutic and educational experiences for people with varying physical and intellectual abilities. These activities include: arts and crafts, gardening and environmental education, animal interaction, adaptive sports and social gatherings.
When it comes to the mental health crisis enveloping our society, there is a huge emphasis on putting out fires. iheart prevents the fires. The transformative approach to supporting young people, teachers and parents is based on the core belief that wellbeing is innate. All iheart programmes work to uncover this resilience.
In the Autumn term of 2021, iheart launched a pilot project with selected Ark schools. The intended beneficiaries of the pilot were Year 6 students and selected staff.
Aurum bursary programme
The Aurum bursaries combine financial support, that covers both tuition fees and living expenses, with practical support in the form of a comprehensive internship programme and ongoing mentoring. This combined approach will remove the financial burden of higher education and provide excellent opportunities for the students in two competitive fields. From this ongoing relationship, we aim to build an enduring association with these students. The internships will be at both Aurum and our allied charity Synchronicity Earth. As part of the internship programme, the students will work on collaborative projects. This will expand their experiences by providing insight into another industry. And, by collaborating with Synchronicity Earth, we will continue our work to enhance the links between finance and conservation.
Collaboration and leverage
Aurum Embedded Impact®
The core tenet of this is our Embedded Impact® Approach which provides proﬁt with purpose. Our purpose as a business is to grow and protect capital. Not only our clients’ capital, but also environmental capital; our planet and species and social capital; healthcare and education.
Aurum is an Embedded Impact business where donations are structured to proportionately increase as ﬁrm AUM increases. This ensures that as we grow and prosper as a business, we are using this success to create meaningful, positive impact.
Aurum also offers two speciﬁc Embedded Impact Funds where donations are made by Aurum from investment management fees:
- The first Embedded Impact investment solution, which launched in 2002, where Aurum makes donations from the investment management fees to environmental charitable causes including Synchronicity Earth, a registered charity that supports the conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems and species at risk around the world.
- The second Embedded Impact Fund, Aurum makes donations from the investment management fees to social causes namely through The Seneca Trust, a charity focused on disability, health, displacement and education. This is achieved through providing grants and direct assistance to charities and organisations.
Since inception, the Embedded Impact approach has given more than $15 million to support charitable endeavours around the world.
ESG issues are incorporated into the investment decision-making process when Aurum considers prospective investments and when monitoring portfolio positions. Underlying managers complete an online ESG questionnaire and the results are aggregated to ensure effective engagement topics are identified and progress is measured.
The review focuses on ESG approach from both a corporate and investment perspective. As this is a rapidly evolving area, we also look at direction of travel and commitment to future developments as well as current status.
Aurum business operations
The Aurum Group continually review operations, seeking ways to improve efﬁciency and decrease negative impact.
Aurum runs a programme that supports group employee fundraising by up to £1,000 annually per employee. Group employees are also able to give a£50 birthday donation to a charity of their choice.
In 2018 Aurum introduced a group employee volunteering programme, where staff are allocated two days per year to volunteer. This was enhanced in 2021 from providing London based volunteering opportunities, to the following three options:
- access to the online volunteering platform Matchable.
- for colleagues who already have volunteering commitments, to be able to use these days for charity of their choice.
- to provide group volunteering opportunities to facilitate team building.
Mobilising the hedge fund industry
Aurum has a goal to galvanise the hedge fund industry to have a net positive environmental impact.
To achieve this the Aurum Group engages and collaborates with external stakeholders including underlying managers. This primarily involves candid discussion and providing educational materials and guidance on how environmental philanthropy can beneﬁt both their businesses and wider society.
Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
Aurum have always been cognisant of the environmental challenges of climate change and both the risks and opportunities this has for us as a business. This TCFD reporting is an important step to strengthening our reporting and transparency in this important area.
Aurum believes a robust ESG approach is both our moral and fiduciary duty. Aurum Research Limited’s (“ARL”) Head of ESG is responsible for identifying climate risks and opportunities in collaboration with ARL’s investment and operational due diligence teams. This information is provided to ARL’s senior management team and ultimately Aurum’s board who are able to opine on these matters. This is from both a company and investment perspective.
As well as having this formal process in place, Aurum also believes ESG is the collective responsibility of all group employees. This is reﬂected in ESG considerations being integrated into all employee objectives. These objectives range from limiting personal and professional environmental impact, ensuring inclusivity in all we do and looking to drive industry and wider societal change by collaborating with other industry participants.
At a business level, the Aurum Group have taken opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint and are particularly cognisant of suppliers and their impact on society.