Company Engagement Report 2015

Introduction

Company engagement is an important part of the Triodos Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) strategy. We discuss issues regarding social, environmental and corporate governance performance in order to increase awareness, motivate change and ensure long-term shareholder value. Companies usually welcome engagement with Triodos Research and it often stimulates positive change.

This report covers our engagement activities in 2015. Engagement with companies starts during the selection and monitoring process and continues through responsible share and bond ownership activities. In 2015, we engaged 661 times with a total of 280 companies. Results and outcomes of these engagement efforts are included in this report.

Executive summary

In 2015, we engaged with 280 companies on a range of different topics.

Main engagement topics

The topics we discussed the most with companies in 2015 were:

  • Arms
  • Nuclear power
  • Climate change
  • Basic labour rights
  • Animal testing

In relation with companies’ annual reporting and subsequent Annual General Shareholders Meeting we took special account last year of two specific topics: board diversity and climate change.

Early 2015, Triodos Research sent a letter to 119 investee companies ahead of their AGMs, explaining our main voting principles and raising questions about gender diversity at board level. Thirty seven companies replied to our questions providing additional information and answers to the questions.

In December 2015, Triodos Research sent a letter to 110 investee companies to announce that the topic the fund will focus on in the AGMs in 2016 is climate change. In our letter we call upon companies to disclose their strategy on climate protection, develop targets that are in line with the COP21 Universal Agreement, to disclose their roadmap to meeting these targets and their annual progress in this regard.

Engagement during selection phase

In 2015, we engaged with 83 companies during the selection phase. Fifty seven companies assessed responded to our questions and 17 engagement efforts were pending at the end of the year. We informed 139 companies of their assessment results, of which 25 replied asking for more information or just thanking us for the feedback as it helps them to improve further.

We actively monitor companies that have been selected for the Triodos Sustainable Investment Universe. During 2015, we engaged 69 times with 54 companies during monitoring.

Collaborative dialogue

Triodos Research also regularly works together with other investors to further steer sustainable performance. In 2015, a joint investor letter was sent on behalf of Actiam, Robeco, MN Services and Triodos Investment Management, to 17 leading automobile manufacturers.

The letter calls upon companies to prepare for current and future regulatory requirements on fleet emission reductions and to disclose targets and progress to achieve emissions reductions.

On behalf of Triodos Investment Management we co-signed a number of collaborative initiatives organized by members of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), for example on human rights and animal welfare. Furthermore, we continued our support to a number of collaborative initiatives organized by members of the United Principles for Responsible Investment, signed before 2015, such as the Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative and a statement on responsible palm oil.

Responsible share ownership

As a responsible shareholder, Triodos Research votes at all AGMs of companies we invest in. In 2015, we voted at 125 AGMs. We were able to inform most companies in advance about how we intended to vote at their AGM; 26 companies replied to the feedback letter and in several cases this triggered an interesting debate.

Public policy

As part of our engagement activities, we also seek to influence public policies. In 2015, we were involved in several initiatives in the public domain, such as corporate tax, conflict minerals and the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group.

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