European Assets Trust

BMO – a pioneer in responsible investing

Since launching Europe’s first ethically screened fund in 1984, BMO has been investing responsibly for more than 35 years. Today its Responsible Investment team comprises 20+ sustainability experts with over 275 years collective experience.

ESG that’s not just box-ticking

At BMO, responsible investing goes beyond just careful investment decision-making to influence positive change around the world. BMO has been engaging companies for over 20 years on ESG issues to help drive improvement in ESG practices. Over the past two decades, BMO has engaged more than 5,700 companies, resulting in 4,106 instances of positive change.* In recent years, BMO has aligned its engagement efforts to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are an ambitious roadmap for a creating a more sustainable global economy and society by 2030 – from ending poverty to tackling climate change – and provide a useful framework for company engagement.

European Assets Trust – ESG engagement in Practice

During 2020, BMOs Responsible Investment team engaged 13 times with management in the Company’s portfolio across six countries. The most common topics for discussion were corporate governance, climate change, labour and environmental standards. Watch Lucy Morris’s (Alternate Manager European Assets Trust) latest update as she discusses the importance of sustainability & ESG issues and how both are weaved into the Trust’s investment processes.

BMO also exercises its right to vote as another way to influence positive change. Voting against management on key resolutions sends a clear signal to companies on the importance of improving their business practices. BMO regularly engages companies before and after voting to explain their expectations and invite comment, and to explain its reasons for any votes against management. With respect to European Assets Trust’s investments, in the year to 31 December 2020, BMO voted at 42 meetings of investee companies held in the portfolio. Public details of all BMO’s voting activity, including rationale for votes against management, become available on the website the day after each shareholder meeting here.

Learn more about the Trust’s approach in our latest report and accounts here.

The future of investor engagement

Whilst our manager has influenced for good over the past 20 years, they also recognise that much more needs to be done to secure a sustainable future for us all. In the decade ahead, BMO will continue to focus on the achievement of the SDGs, stepping up engagement to tackle key systemic risks such as climate change, biodiversity and social inequality. Find out more here.

Learn more about responsible investing at BMO here.

*As at 31 December 2020

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BMO Global Asset Management’s voting, engagement and public policy work is conducted independently of the wider BMO Financial Group. Positions taken by BMO Global Asset Management may not be representative of the views of the BMO Financial Group as a whole or of the other lines of business within it