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Investing in Education

6 January 2023


"Investing with a positive social and environmental impact is an increasingly important issue for investors and can be achieved alongside competitive market returns.  Investing with impact can also help incorporate risk and return drivers which would otherwise not be considered.  The Fund wishes to invest in a way that minimises negative impacts on society and the environment and, where possible, makes a positive contribution"
- one of the Fund's investment beliefs.

In line with the Fund's goals of "transparency and information sharing" and "responsible ownership and stewardship", this article has been published based on a research report written for the WPF Committee meeting on 5 September 2022.


The Wiltshire Pension Fund Committee received impact investing training from Pensions for Purpose in November 2021. Following this, at the meeting of 03 March 2022, the Committee voted for three key investment themes based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). One of the themes chosen was education, as defined by SDG 4:

"Quality Education - to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".

The investment team engaged with the Fund's asset managers to understand how the current portfolios were contributing to providing quality education; it was identified there are two different investable themes on education.

Firstly, the most obvious was to understand if any companies held were directly providing educational services.

However, the team were keen to consider the topic more broadly and investigate how companies were sustainably adjusting to the transition of a low carbon economy, and what this meant for ensuring that workforces were adequately re-trained. This second theme links to another UN SDG chosen by the Committee relating to climate change [13] and an initiative already supported by the Fund, "the Just Transition". 

Analysts challenged the Fund's asset managers on these topics, and detailed the findings below:

Closing remarks

Wiltshire Pension Fund, as asset owners, understand and are committed to a Responsible Investment Policy 2022 (PDF) [4MB] (opens new window)  that delivers positive social impacts where possible alongside competitive market returns, and that is aligned with the Fund's strategic vision goals. The investment team acknowledge the potential pitfalls of reporting positive impact that are merely coincidental, therefore following this analysis, will continue to challenge asset managers on this investment theme to ensure that intentional, incremental positive impacts can be identified, and that managers are appropriately considering the risks and opportunities associated with this theme.

Find more examples of our activities, outcomes and engagement themes on our stewardship reporting and engagement pages.



Daniel Smith

Pension Fund Investment Analyst

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