The second quarter saw a pioneering investor engagement success on climate change, the launch of a new engagement theme on mining, and more shareholder meetings than ever before. Most company AGMs take place in the April to June period, though many were held online.
“Although the Covid-19 pandemic caused some meetings to be postponed, the overall proxy voting system proved to be sufficiently resilient,” says Carola van Lamoen, Head of Robeco’s SI Center of Expertise.
“Given the challenging circumstances around the world, it was especially important that we made our shareholder voices heard, and encouraged companies to take action on material ESG issues.”
“Climate change was once again a central theme throughout the voting season, and we played an active role in bringing this issue front and center.”
A significant success during the period was the appointment of a board member at Enel to assist the Italian utility in its move to a lower-carbon business model.
“We led the way in successfully nominating a sustainability expert to Enel’s board of directors to enhance the climate expertise of the board,” says Van Lamoen. “This innovative engagement approach will strengthen the company’s transition plans.”
At the AGM of Alphabet, Robeco co-filed a resolution requesting the board to establish a Human Rights Oversight Committee.
The quarter also saw the launch of a new engagement theme on the lifecycle management of mining. “The aim of this engagement theme ranges from improving disclosure of tailing dam risks to encouraging best practices for water management,” Van Lamoen says.
In the Q2 report, engagement specialists Cristina Cedillo and Sylvia van Waveren explain that the mining sector is vital for economic growth, but they draw attention to numerous ESG risks over the lifecycle of mining operations.
Recent developments in the corporate governance space are also covered, as well as Robeco’s engagements on the social risks of sugar, the importance of paying a living wage, and the ‘tsunami of waste’ that single-use plastic is causing.
Our engagement specialists show how the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are influencing our engagement in these areas, and how companies are approaching the goals.