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The views expressed are those of the author at the time of writing. Other teams may hold different views and make different investment decisions. The value of your investment may become worth more or less than at the time of original investment. While any third-party data used is considered reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. For professional, institutional, or accredited investors only.
Wellington’s long-standing commitment to deep fundamental research and meaningful engagement with investee companies continues to drive positive engagement outcomes that we believe support and enhance long-term investment value for our clients. We are proud of progress we made in 2021 advancing our stewardship priorities, and we have seen many positive outcomes spanning a range of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. We look forward to continued momentum on ESG and to expanding our influence via active ownership in 2022.
Climate action at an energy company
As part of our commitment to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative and our belief that carbon considerations represent a meaningful transition risk, we continue to engage with companies, particularly in carbon-intensive sectors, to understand how they plan to set science-based targets and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We engaged with an energy company to assess its long-term carbon-emissions reduction goals and progress on setting a meaningful target. In October, the company announced it would target net-zero emission by 2050 and cut operational GHG emissions intensity by 30% by 2030.
Executive compensation at a digital payments company
Aligning executive remuneration with company performance to ensure long-term alignment with shareholder interests has long been an ESG area of focus. Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness and heightened reputational risk for companies that flout or disregard these concerns. We engaged with a digital payments company to better understand the rationale behind a proposal to issue executive cash bonuses based on cost-cutting initiatives and growth metrics in just one business segment. We encouraged the company to implement a more holistic compensation plan that emphasizes overall growth. The company decided to revert to its pre-pandemic compensation structure, including the metrics as we had suggested.
DEI transparency at an energy company
We targeted diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in 2021 as a key stewardship priority for companies to disclose the racial and ethnic composition of their board. We wrote to all S&P 500 companies, communicating our expectations and explaining how this issue would align with our voting guidelines. During 2021, a US-based oil and gas exploration and production company responded positively through further engagement, detailing its plan to expand these disclosures. The company has promised to include the racial and ethnic composition of its board starting with its proxy statement at the 2022 annual general meeting.