Main engagement themes in 2015

The thematic focus of our ongoing dialogue is often guided by company assessments and by the overall industries in which the assessed companies operate. The main engagement themes in 2015 were arms, nuclear power, climate change, basic labour rights and animal testing. Changes in our investment criteria or important industry developments are also a reason to start a dialogue with companies.

Download XLS

Theme

2015

2014

 

 

 

Arms

34

16

Nuclear power

23

10

Climate change

23

13

Basic labour rights

22

22

Animal testing

21

34

Conflict minerals

20

27

Factory farming

14

21

Genetic engineering

14

22

Unconventional oil/gas

11

7

Human rights

7

9

 

 

 

Arms

In 2015, we engaged 34 times about arms. Most contacts took place during the analysis stage prior to selection. Triodos Bank has zero tolerance for direct involvement in arms. This zero-tolerance policy also applies to financial institutions that have financial relationships with companies involved in controversial arms like antipersonnel landmines, cluster bombs and biological and chemical weapons. In 2015, a feasibility study was conducted in order to gain insight into the current position of financial institutions in companies that produce controversial arms to see if our current application for financial institutions can be further strengthened. We asked 15 financial institutions about their involvement in and, if relevant, confronted them with an overview of investments in companies involved in the production of these weapons. Thirteen gave full disclosure and one partially. As a result of the study, we decided to make the arms criterion more stringent. Financial institutions currently selected are given three years time to improve their policies. The changes entail that we will no longer make an exception for financial involvement through third-party funds and executiononly activities.

Nuclear power

The topic of nuclear power has been discussed 23 times in 2015. Most contacts took place during the analysis stage prior to the selection decision. One of the companies contacted on this topic was Deutsche Bahn. The company replied that it is carrier for the transport of class 7 dangerous goods. These goods comprise radioactive material which means any material containing radionuclides. Since these services are directly related and tailor-made to the nuclear power industry, the company is excluded for investment. Canadian National Railway was also contacted about this topic. In contrast to Deutsche Bahn, this company does not transport any highly radioactive waste from nuclear plants. The company is selected for investment.

Climate change

The topic of climate change has been discussed 23 times in 2015. Half of the contacts took place as a result of collaboration with other investors. A letter was sent to leading automobile companies about climate protection. See the section ‘Collaborative dialogue’ for more information. With Volkswagen a telephone call was scheduled a few days after it became known that the company was using fraudulent software in its fleet. The company cancelled the meeting. Also additional questions raised a few weeks later in a letter remain unanswered by the company. Volkswagen is now excluded for investment due to this systematic use of fraudulent software in a large proportion of its fleet. In addition, a specific letter on climate change was sent in December 2015 to all investee companies. These letters are not included in the engagement numbers mentioned in this paragraph. See for more information below.

Basic labour rights

In 2015, we discussed basic labour rights 22 times. As participant in the Bangladesh Investor project, coordinated by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, we co-signed follow-up letters sent to seven companies that were involved in the Rana Plaza accident in 2013. One letter called for assurance that suppliers and factory owners have the financial capacity to address remediation requirements and that they fully participate in the formation and functioning of democratically elected occupational safety and health committees. A second letter called upon companies to donate to the Rana Plaza Fund. This Fund was set up to compensate victims and their families to the collapse of Rana Plaza. Letters were sent a.o. to Adidas, Carrefour, Gap Inc. (The), H&M, Inditex, Marks & Spencer en VF Corp. Triodos Research led the engagement on this subject with Inditex. The company replied that it had donated generously to the Donor fund and wrote a separate letter with an update on the efforts it has taken as a result of the Bangladesh Accord. For instance, the company is working on a pilot project concerning a number of factories in which the company is setting up health and safety committees and joint work is being undertaken with the Federation of Trade Unions to ensure that the rights of workers in Bangladesh to freedom of association are fully respected.

Animal testing

Animal testing was also high on the agenda of Triodos Research in 2015. In total, we engaged 21 times on this topic. All contacts took place during the analysis stage prior to the selection decision. Health care company Integra LifeSciences Holdings was one of the companies contacted about its policy on animal testing. Initially the company did not respond and as a result the company was not selected and we informed it about this decision. Soon after, in November 2015, the company informed us that, due to its recent acquisition of TEI Biosciences, it is in the process of updating its animal welfare policy. The company has promised to share it with us. We will carefully review this updated policy and potentially reassess the company for inclusion in our sustainable investment universe.

Create your own report

Chart Generator – Create your own charts (teaser)

Chart Generator

Easily digested facts and figures,
for you to create and download.

Create your own charts