Impact Reports

Investing with impact in mind

This decade is vital for achieving the ambition of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and ultimately creating a better future for us all. Investors have a key role to play – it’s not enough to say we intend to support sustainable development, we need to monitor and measure the impact our investments have. That means working with our investee companies to encourage better disclosure of impact metrics.
We publish impact reports annually for our growing range of sustainability strategies, using the SDGs as a key reference point to measure the impact of our investment decisions. Each report can be found below.

Measuring impact

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a key reference point for measuring impact. There are 17 goals and 169 associated targets, providing a useful tool for companies and investors to be able to contribute to achieving a more sustainable future by 2030. The framework has created a common language between stakeholders.

BMO’s contribution to SDGs in 2020

As pioneers in responsible investment, at BMO, we use the SDGs as a framework for engaging for positive change. In 2020, 79% of our engagement was linked to SDGs. We positively contributed to 10 of the 17 SDGs.

Click below to discover how our engagement with companies in 2020 linked to the different goals and targets.

Familly iconECG chart iconSex iconWater iconSun iconChart iconInfinity iconEarth iconTree iconPigeon iconOtherNo SDG
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SDG Goal 1 - No Poverty - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

In 2020, 5% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 1

2020 was a catastrophic year for many retailers. However, the knock-on effects were not uniform. Economic fortunes for different retailers varied, but labour standards came into focus across all areas of the sector. We expanded our engagement with retailers in 2020 beyond the Living Wage to include broader social themes during the pandemic.
SDG targets within the denoted goal that are less than 0.5%
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SDG Goal 3 - Good Health and Well-Being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

In 2020, 3% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 3

India’s vast untapped market for healthcare and financial services offers significant growth prospects for companies looking to serve it. We believe that beyond reaping the financial benefits of increasing revenues, companies can and should play an active role in improving people’s livelihoods by making these services affordable and inclusive.
Antimicrobial resistance is a natural phenomenon being accelerated due to poor stewardship of antibiotics in healthcare and farming. We engaged pharmaceutical companies, food producers and food retailers on their approach to AMR issues. We will continue to benchmark best practices and encourage more robust commitments on addressing AMR.
SDG targets within the denoted goal that are less than 0.5%
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SDG Goal 5 - Gender Equality - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

In 2020, 8% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 5

Workforce disclosure is essential for investors to better analyse companies’ social performance. Companies’ workforce disclosure is still limited, often referencing data gaps or lack of appropriate data gathering systems. BMO Global Asset Management encourages companies to respond to the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) annual survey to underline accountability to their social commitments
We engaged Germany’s largest listed companies on the lack of female representation at senior leadership levels. Find out the results and responses from those companies.
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SDG Goal 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all>

In 2020, 2% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 6

Achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water (SDG 6.1)
A healthy marine environment is critical to the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Currently only 2-6% of our oceans are classified as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and it is estimated that we need 30% protected to ensure a thriving ocean ecosystem. In addition to the social and environmental benefits, around $2.5tn of economic value is generated annually by the oceans. Read more about how our Responsible Investment team engage with companies on these issues.
SDG targets within the denoted goal that are less than 0.5%
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SDG Goal 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

In 2020, 5% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 7

BMO GAM itself has committed to an ambition of net zero emissions in our investments by 2050, as part of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. As part of our stewardship approach, we have been working with other investors to urge companies to align with these goals. However, dialogue alone is not enough, particularly where companies are not meeting even basic expectations or are resistant to engagement.
SDG targets within the denoted goal that are less than 0.5%
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SDG Goal 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

In 2020, 19% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 8

Technological advances have been the most significant driver of economic development over the last 200 years, with each industrial age transforming the way people live and work. But the depth and scale of labour displacement from A.I. automation could be much greater than previous industrial revolutions. Discover how artificial intelligence and automation could impact the future of work.
We engage around social issues consistently to ensure the application of labour management policies that provide a diverse, non-discriminatory and safe workplace, where workers are treated well and paid fairly. We encourage transparency and accountability within supply chains and direct operations to ensure best practice.
Our engagement in 2018 focused on companies required to publish modern slavery statements in line with the UK’s landmark Modern Slavery Act 2015. Since the introduction of this Act, modern slavery legislation has progressed in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, France, and the Netherlands.
Labour issues are likely the biggest corporate theme resulting from the pandemic, with the impact on workers not been felt evenly. The implications for worker welfare differ significantly depending on the sector, the jurisdiction, and the nature of jobs. In 2020 we began engaging companies on their response to the global pandemic, calling for measures related to health & safety and the provision of mental health support, among others.
SDG targets within the denoted goal that are less than 0.5%
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SDG Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

In 2020, 12% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 12

We engage with companies on the circular economy, the use of innovative materials, adopting product lifecycle assessments, improving recycling along the entire supply chain, and educating consumers on product use and disposal.
In April 2018, the EU Member States endorsed the EU Commission’s proposals to ban all outdoor uses of three neonicotinoids (“neonics”). Since then, we have reviewed our engagement on chemical safety and biodiversity risk with ten agrochemical companies to see how they are responding to the new rules.
2018 saw a significant focus on the issue of ocean plastics, spurred by the airing of Sir David Attenborough’s seminal documentary Blue Planet II and the awareness that more than 8mn tonnes of plastic reaches the oceans annually.
The economic turmoil and social upheaval from the pandemic has put sustainability challenges at the heart of the global agenda. As investors, we must drive positive change through the responsible allocation of capital and engagement with companies. We have set out our three engagement priorities for 2021, focused on supporting a sustainable recovery from the pandemic and the 2030 target date for achieving the SDGs: the race to net zero, addressing biodiversity loss, and Supporting social justice and reducing inequality.
SDG targets within the denoted goal that are less than 0.5%
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SDG Goal 13 - Climate Action - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

In 2020, 16% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 13

With a growing number of governments setting paths to net zero emissions, the future of coal is in question. It’s estimated that coal use would have to drop by 60% by 2030 to achieve a net zero future. Through our engagement, we seek to encourage companies with exposure to coal to be proactive in how they will manage the transition and avoid the risks of stranded assets.
BMO GAM itself has committed to an ambition of net zero emissions in our investments by 2050, as part of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. As part of our stewardship approach, we have been working with other investors to urge companies to align with these goals. However, dialogue alone is not enough, particularly where companies are not meeting even basic expectations or are resistant to engagement.
Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, driven by deforestation and land-use change. With palm oil, rubber, sugar and coal being vital to the country’s economic growth and trade balance, calls to address the climate impacts of their production and use face significant hurdles. Meanwhile, the intense monsoons and rain of January 2020, which left tens of thousands of people displaced, were a stark reminder of the country’s vulnerability to climate risks.
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SDG Goal 15 - Life on Land - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

In 2020, 2% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 15

Ensure sustainable usage of terrestrial freshwater ecosystems (SDG 15.1)
Palm oil production has serious social and environmental impacts. We consider how the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is addressing these issues.
SDG targets within the denoted goal that are less than 0.5%
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SDG Goal 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

In 2020, 3% of our engagement linked to SDG goal 16

With the rapidly-developing situation, we are still in the early stages of understanding the impact that COVID-19 will have. However, some important implications for corporate governance practices and standards are already emerging.
Engaging with companies is an important way for investors to drive positive change at the corporate level. However, one-on-one engagement sometimes fails, and it becomes necessary to escalate our engagement strategy - from collaboration to filing shareholder resolutions.
SDGs less than 2%.

2. Zero Hunger, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 10. Reduced Inequalities, 11.Sustainable Cities and Communities, 14. Life Below Water

The remaining 21% of our engagement focused on corporate governance, which we view as an essential building block in creating a more sustainable economy

21% of our engagement does not have a direct link to a specific SDG target. The majority of these engagement activities are on corporate governance, which we view as an essential building block in creating more sustainable, better run companies. The main exception is our engagement on board diversity, much of which has covered gender diversity issues, which we see as supportive of SDG 5 and targets 5.1 and 5.5 in particular, but has a wider application to the achievement of other goals such as SDG 8 and SDG 10.

Read our Responsible Investment 2020
Review

Sustainable Universal MAP Range

In 2020, we engaged with 107 companies held in the funds resulting in 59 milestones. Key topics included engagement on labour standards, corporate governance and climate change.

In 2020, we voted at 90 meetings and engaged with 107 companies held in the funds, resulting in 59 milestones. Key topics included engagement on labour standards, corporate governance and climate change.

  • Across the Sustainable MAP range, the top SDGs we aligned to were:
    • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth. In particular, target 8.2 which focuses on boosting economic productivity through technological upgrading and innovation and; target 8.10 which aims for universal access to financial services
    • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being. Of the activity across the range which linked to SDG 3, the majority aligned with target 3.8 which calls for universal access to medicines and health-care
  • Engaged with a number of companies held in the funds including Smurfit Kappa and National Grid linking to SDG 13 – Climate Action. Worked with GlaxoSmithKline on its approach to executive remuneration
  • We voted at 90 meetings

BMO Responsible UK Equity Strategy

In 2020 we engaged with 46 companies held in the fund, with the aim of improving their management of environmental, social and governance issues.

In 2020, we engaged with 46 companies held in the fund, voted at 82 meetings and achieved 31 milestones. The top SDGs we aligned to were: SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being and SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

  • 47% of activities were positively aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with only 9% negatively aligned and 42% neutral
  • Top SDGs we aligned to:
    • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being

Examples of companies linked to SDG 3 include Clinigen, which facilitates access to new medicines across over 100 countries worldwide, and surgical device firm Smith & Nephew

    • SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Companies providing innovative solutions aligned with SDG 9 include Johnson Matthey, which provides technologies that reduce air pollution, and Polypipe, whose products include components for plumbing and sanitation

  • We voted at 82 meetings and achieved 31 milestones

BMO Responsible UK Income Strategy

In 2020 we engaged with 64 companies held in the fund and achieved 37 milestones

In 2020 we voted at 72 meetings, engaged with 64 companies held in the fund and achieved 37 milestones. The top SDGs we aligned to were: SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being, SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, and SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

  • 49% of our activity positively aligned to the SDGs with only 6% negatively aligned and 41% neutral
  • The top SDGs we aligned to were:
    • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being
      An example of a company linked to SDG 3 is CareTech Holdings, which provides residential care for adults and children with health challenges
    • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
    • SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
      An example of a company aligned to SDG 9 is Nationwide Building Society, which provides finance for housing
  • We voted at 72 meetings

BMO Responsible Global Emerging Markets Equity Strategy

In 2020, we engaged with 87% of the companies held in the strategy, with the aim of improving their management of material ESG issues.

In 2020, we engaged with 87% of the companies held in the strategy with the aim of improving their management of material ESG issues. We voted at 64 meetings and 61% of our activity positively aligned to the SDGs with only 7.5% negatively aligned.

  • 61% positive contribution towards SDGs and only 7.5% negative, with the remaining 26.7% on neutral
  • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth made up a large percentage (28.2%) of focus on engagement for this fund. This reflects holdings in technology companies including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Naver, which support SDG target 8.2 calling for boosting economic productivity through technological upgrading and innovation
  • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being also has a significant weight. The fund’s holdings in this area include pharmaceutical firms, pharmacy and healthcare stores, and companies like Discovery that are involved in promoting wider well-being amongst their customers
  • We voted at 64 meetings

BMO Responsible Global Equity Strategy

In 2020, we engaged with 33 companies held in the strategy with the aim of improving their management of ESG issues.

In 2020, we engaged with 33 companies held in the strategy and recorded 21 milestones. 83.7% of activities positively aligned to the SDGs with only 1.8% negatively aligned. Our top engagement aligned to SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being and SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.

  • 83.7% of activities positively aligned to the SDGs, only 1.8% was negatively aligned and 13.5% neutral
  • Top engagement aligned to: SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being, and SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Labour standards were an important focus for our engagement in 2020, with discussions on topics including modern slavery, living wages and how companies were protecting their workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Investment in technology and industrial companies, providing sustainability solutions, align with target 8.2, which calls for technological innovation to support increased productivity and economic growth
  • We have recorded 21 milestones – instances of positive change following engagement

BMO Responsible Sterling Corporate Bond Strategy

In 2020 we engaged with 50 companies held in the fund, with the aim of improving their management of environmental, social and governance issues.

In 2020 we engaged with 50 companies held in the fund, with the aim of improving their management of environmental, social and governance issues.

  • Similar to last year, the SDGs most represented remain SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
    • Retail banking and insurance services support target 8.10, which aims for universal access to finance – one example being insurer Prudential.
    • SDG9 links to several business lines including loans to small and medium-sized businesses, supporting target 9.3 on financial services to small enterprises.
  • Clean energy is also a key focus area, with 5% of the portfolio linking to SDG7 – Affordable and Clean Energy.
    • This includes a number of investments in green bonds. At the end of 2020, green and social bonds made up 9% of the fund overall.

BMO Sustainable Opportunities Global Equity Strategy

In 2020 we engaged with 24 companies held in the fund and we recorded 20 milestones – instances of positive change following engagement. Of the companies we invest in:

In 2020, we engaget wiith 24 companies held in the fund and we recorded 20 milestones – instances of positive change following engagement. 95% of activities were positively aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with only 1.2% negatively aligned. Top engagement aligned to: SDG 3– Good Health and Well-being and SDG 8– Decent Work and Economic Growth.

  • 95% of activities were positively aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with only 1.2% negatively aligned
  • Top engagement aligned to:
    • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth;
  • Labour standards were an important focus for our engagement with continued engagement on topics including modern slavery and living wages, as well as protecting workforces during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Our governance engagement included pay and board diversity
  • On climate change, we called on companies to align their business strategies with the transition to net zero global emissions by 2050

BMO SDG Engagement Global Equity Strategy

In 2020, we engaged with 100% of companies within our fund’s portfolio across 17 countries, totalling 159 engagements.

In 2020, we engaged with 100% of companies within our fund’s portfolio across 17 countries, totalling 159 engagements.

  • Top engagement aligned to: SDG 12 35% of total engagement, SDG 8 17% and SDG 5 contributed 10% of our total engagement
  • SDG 12 – we have been talking to companies about improving environmental and social management, and utilising resources in the most efficient of ways. Waste management and packaging innovation comes in here
  • SDG 8 – focused on ensuring the application of labour management policies that provide a diverse, non-discriminatory and safe workplace, where workers are treated well

BMO Sustainable Opportunities European Equity Strategy

In 2020 we engaged with 19 companies held in the fund, with the aim of improving their management of environmental, social and governance issues.

In 2020 we engaged with 19 companies held in the fund, with the aim of improving their management of environmental, social and governance issues. We voted at 35 meetings, achieved 14 milestones and 82% of activities positively aligned with the SDGs. Key topics included engagement on: SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being and SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.

  • 82% of activities positively aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with only 3% negatively aligned and 13% neutral
  • Key topics included engagement on
    • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being – Examples of companies linked to SDG 3 include Covid-19 vaccine developer AstraZeneca, and Swedish firm Elekta, which specialises in radiotherapy equipment for cancer treatment.
    • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth – Companies providing innovative solutions aligned with SDG 8 include Prudential, provider of a range of insurance services including health insurance, supporting Target 8.10 which calls for an expansion in access to financial services.
  • We voted at 35 meetings and achieved 14 milestones

Let's talk about risk

All of our funds involve a level of risk and the value of your investments can go down as well as up. The level of risk will depend upon the underlying investments in those funds. You need to be comfortable that you may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance.

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.

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