Sustainability and Responsible Investing

In addition to what it says about us, In Our Nature also says something about our surroundings. We are both in nature and a part of it. We depend on it and it depends on us. Of the many features of forests and farms that make them unique in the investment landscape, perhaps the most significant is that they are alive.

Brian Kernohan, Chief Sustainability Officer



Our Mission

Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), a Manulife Investment Management Company, creates value through the sustainable management of natural resource investments. We manage our assets as good stewards of the land, the environment, and the community on behalf of our investors.

Our Approach

HNRG is a thematic investment manager, focusing on areas where social or environmental goals can offer commercial investment opportunities. We believe that good stewardship is good business, and that forest and farmland assets – when well-managed – directly contribute to global sustainability and responsible investment objectives.

Impact Investing Spectrum

Our Sustainability Platform

Through the five pillars of our Sustainability and Responsible Investing (SRI) platform (Ecosystem Resiliency, Watershed Protection, Climate Stability, People Empowerment, and Community Prosperity), HNRG integrates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors throughout all aspects of its investment decision-making and property management. Learn more about our platform below:

HNRG Forum field tours
A safety-first culture generates safety innovations
Reducing Accidents with Log Trucks Using Cameras that Keep Drivers Safe

1/3 HNRG Forum field tours

With a global staff on three continents working across multiple business functions, it’s important to meet regularly for training, knowledge sharing, business updates, and team-building. Here, a group of HNRG employees from USA, New Zealand and Chile, attend a field tour at a timber property in Glenwood, WA. Part of the field tour was observing an active harvest unit during logging operations. A large majority of these employees typically spend their days in the office, so having boots on the ground brings our operations full circle to support the theme of the forum: Many Groups, One Team.

Photo credit: Heather Nunnally

2/3 A safety-first culture generates safety innovations

Harvesting and transporting trees can be high-risk activities. In 2014, our New Zealand forestry operations established a committee of two HNRG staff and four suppliers, representing a cross-section of business functions and regions, to identify key health and safety processes and procedures. After nearly a year of consultation with hundreds of contractors and their employees, the sub-committee developed six “Life Saving Rules,” designed to raise a flag in the event of a safety breach, and send a clear message that personal safety is paramount. After more than five years and periodic reviews, the rules are still serving their purpose.

3/3 Reducing Accidents with Log Trucks Using Cameras that Keep Drivers Safe

HNRG contracts its logging and heavy transport crews, and our goal is to maintain the same high level of health and safety among our contractors as our employees. Historically, in Australia and New Zealand, there has been an unacceptably high number of road accidents involving log trucks. Research has shown that driver fatigue is a major contributing factor. To combat this, in conjunction with our transport fleet owners, we installed cameras in logging truck cabs to monitor drivers’ faces. When the cameras detect tiredness or attention lapses, an audible alarm and seat vibrations alert the driver, the incident is logged, and a dispatcher can be notified if necessary. While drivers initially thought the cameras were somewhat intrusive, they have now embraced the advanced technology as something which can help them and other road users stay safe. The cameras also helped identify and assist multiple drivers with sleeping disorders, notably sleep apnea, which affects around 10% of drivers.

Our Impact

HNRG’s impacts in 2020 include managing 100% of our eligible timberland investments to third-party sustainability standards, managing our entire U.S agriculture platform to the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard1, making our operations climate-positive, and adhering to a strict zero-deforestation policy. Over the past five years, our forests and farms have removed an average 3.0 million tons of CO2 annually, and since our founding in 1985 we have planted over 1.2 billion trees. For more information please see In Our Nature our 2020 Report on Sustainability and Responsible investing.

1. As of May 17, 2021. Includes both third-party leased and directly operated assets. HNRG is a founding member of Leading Harvest. In addition, Oliver Williams, Global Head of Agriculture, is current Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Leading Harvest.

Certifications and Memberships

HNRG is a Manulife Investment Management (“MIM”) company. MIM, the global asset management business of Manulife Financial Corporation, is a signatory to the UN PRI.

HNRG adheres to the International Finance Corporation’s Equator Principles in its acquisition processes.

HNRG is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and an active contributor to its Forest Solutions Group and work programs on Scaling Positive Agriculture and Nature Action.

HNRG is a member of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and an contributed to its 2019 Report: “Scaling Impact Investment in Forestry”

HNRG sponsors the Joint Program on the Science & Policy of Global Change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Joint Program is a team of natural and social scientists studying interactions among human and Earth systems to provide a sound foundation of scientific knowledge.

100% of HNRG-managed forests are third-party certified sustainable. We manage over 3.4 million acres of forests in the United States and Canada that are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI).

100% of HNRG-managed forests are third-party certified sustainable. We manage nearly 2.1 million acres of forests in Australia, New Zealand, and Chile that are certified under the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC).

100% of HNRG-managed forests are third-party certified sustainable. We manage nearly 1.9 million acres of forests in Australia and New Zealand that are certified under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

HNRG currently manages over 300,000 acres of third-party certified sustainable farmland. Certifications include Global GAP (Apples), USDA GAP (Almonds, Pistachios), SAI-FSA (Cranberries), Lodi Rules (Wine grapes), and the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard (almonds, pistachios, apples, and cranberries, walnuts, grapes, corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, peanuts, and others). HNRG has partnered with our colleagues throughout the agricultural investment sector to establish Leading Harvest, a non-profit that will own and manage a third-party, performance-based, industry-wide sustainability standard for agriculture.

The logos above are registered trademarks of the respective organizations represented.
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