Engagement - monitoring
Triodos SICAV I is constantly on the lookout for new candidates for sustainable investment and monitors companies that have already been selected. Once a company has been selected for inclusion in the investment universe, it is actively monitored by the fund and subjected to a full re-assessment once every three years. A potential breach of Triodos’ minimum standards leads to an in-depth investigation.
Examples of monitoring activities that took place in 2017 included:
- Heineken: the fund contacted Heineken to discuss the company’s activities and impact in relation to human rights in Africa. In particular the company’s role in Burundi – a country considered to have a repressive regime – was discussed. Furthermore, questions were asked about the ongoing case of a complaint filed with the OECD by former workers of the Bralima brewery in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The complaint concerns a series of unfair and unlawful dismissals between 1999 and 2003. During a later call, Heineken informed Triodos that an agreement was reached with the former employees of the Bralima brewery, closing the OECD complaint that the workers filed in 2015 with the Dutch National Contact Point, the government body that sees to these alleged breaches of the OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The fund also participated in a series of stakeholder dialogues about the company’s activities and impact in Africa, organised by Heineken and the African Studies Centre in Leiden.
- Liberty Global: questions were asked about a human rights policy, following last years’ dialogue with the company. The company has no global policy on human rights risks related to its products and services. The fund considers a strong human rights policy based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to be important, as the company is involved in telecommunication and internet services, which involve privacy issues, especially in countries with repressive regimes. In addition, questions were asked about the company’s remuneration policy, as many non-controlling shareholders voted against the company’s remuneration practices at the 2017 AGM. The fund will continue the dialogue on both topics in 2018.
- McKesson: in July 2017, the majority of the company’s investors voted against its executive compensation plan because of its alleged role in the US opioid epidemic that causes the deaths of thousands of people taking overdoses. Although the company responded to the scrutiny with credible measures, the fund remains concerned and will look further into McKesson’s remuneration practices in 2018.
- Svenska Cellulosa: the company was approached with questions, following a Greenpeace report raising concerns about destructive deforestation in Northern European protected boreal forests. The company provided a detailed response, showing that it adheres to strict, third-party verified, sustainable forestry practices that include preservation of biodiversity and the consideration of the rights of indigenous people.