What is engagement?
When we invest in shares and other assets, we become a part-owner in the companies or assets on behalf of our members. This gives us certain rights, for example to vote at company annual general meetings (this is called proxy voting), or meet with company directors or management to discuss issues that either we, or our engagement providers, believe may impact long-term investment performance.
The value of engagement
We prefer to engage with companies rather than mandate that certain activities or companies cannot be held in our portfolio. When it comes to broad and systemic issues like climate change, while divestment may remove a particular company or activity from a portfolio, it doesn’t remove the risk created by the increase in carbon emissions in our atmosphere.
Instead, we believe that by remaining invested in companies, investors like us can encourage change and support company management to transition to more sustainable and climate-resilient operating models.
How we engage
The majority of our engagement activity is conducted by either our engagement providers or by our appointed investment managers. We also participate in collaborative engagement programs, including Climate Action 100+, and Investors Against Slavery and (human) Trafficking Asia Pacific (IAST APAC).
The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) engages on our behalf with selected Australian companies, while the Responsible Engagement Overlay service via Columbia Threadneedle Investments (REO) engages with international companies.