Deepening our commitment to sustainability: Highlights from 2021

Wendy Cromwell, CFA, Head of Sustainable Investment
2023-05-30
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Sustainability, in all its forms, is a strategic priority for our firm and an integral part of our long-term mindset and commitment to our clients. We believe sustainable investing will shift capital markets over the next 20 years, and our goal is to drive excellence for clients by building a sustainability edge that is research based, credible, and future facing.

During 2021, we made significant investments to bolster our sustainable investing and operational efforts, including expanding our team of professionals and strengthening our leadership and governance ecosystem. We continued our research on the potential impacts of climate change on markets, economies, and the investment portfolios we manage on behalf of our clients. Throughout the year, we expanded our constructive dialogue with companies and issuers. Emphasizing management accountability, we tracked and achieved favorable engagement outcomes on major priorities, including strengthening climate resilience, addressing board diversity, and aligning executive compensation with shareholder outcomes. 

We made strides in our industry leadership as well. I was honored to be reelected to the board of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. I also joined the Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM) initiative Advisory Group, where I will continue to help broaden the signatory group and shape this important work.  

Within our corporate operations, our WellSustain program remained focused on reducing our firm’s greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions and overall carbon footprint; deepening our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion; and engaging with our local communities to advance positive financial, social, and environmental outcomes. 

Below are highlights from the past year. For a comprehensive review of our sustainability efforts, please see our 2021 Sustainability Report.

2021 sustainability highlights

Integrated research — to help mitigate risks and enhance investment returns

  • Conducted 540 company climate physical-risk assessments 
  • Developed a climate-adjusted strategic asset allocation framework
  • Launched a proprietary net-zero dashboard, enabling investment teams to analyze climate transition risks
  • Expanded our Sustainable Investment Research and ESG Research Teams   

Innovative strategies — to translate sustainability research into client-oriented outcomes

  • Expanded approaches within our four sustainable investment categories: impact, climate change, ESG forefront, and sustainable thematic

Influential engagement — to advance sustainable business practices 

  • Held 17,500 meetings with 4,500 public-market issuers in 97 countries
  • Held 1,600 meetings with private companies in 29 countries
  • Voted proxies at 6,685 general meetings in 68 markets
  • Voted against management on at least one resolution at 39% of general meetings
  • Published P-ROCC 2.0: Call for location data

Industry leadership — to foster a more sustainable future

  • Continued membership of the NZAM, which has US$57.5 trillion committed from 236 signatories 
  • Multiple colleagues joined working groups within the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and Paris Aligned Investment Initiative (PAII)
  • Liaised with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to advocate for climate disclosure standards and provide data substantiating the benefits to investors of such standards
  • Signed a power purchase agreement to match 100% of US office-based and US employees’ home-based electricity use with renewable energy
  • Began developing a program that aims to connect talent with potential executive, advisory, and board opportunities at our private portfolio companies

Our approach to sustainable investing

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