Discover the direction we believe engagement will take during this critical decade for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The future of investor engagement

In the coming decade, we believe engagement will increasingly focus on both financial returns and sustainability outcomes. The achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is critical not only for human development, but also for creating the right economic and social conditions for long-term prosperity.

Let’s talk about risk

All of our investment plans 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 that you choose to hold in the plans. You need to be comfortable that you may not get back the original amount invested.

Emma Lupton, Vice President  in our Responsible Investment Team, talks about our engagement plans for the future, with a specific focus on the SDGs.

Responsible Investment 20 Years of engagement Emma Lupton

Measuring impact

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a key reference point for measuring impact. They 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, and we are seeing that have a positive impact within our engagement.

SDGs in 2019

As pioneers in responsible investment, we use the SDGs as a framework for engaging for positive change. Hover over the wheel below to discover how our engagement with companies in 2019 linked to the different goals and targets.


of engagement linked to SDGs

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End poverty in all it's forms everywhere
Eradicate poverty and ensure a living wage for all
Ensure equal rights to resources and basic services
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Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Support research into vaccines and medicines for diseases primarily in developing countries
Access to medicines and health-care
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Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
End all forms of discrimination against women and girls
Ensure full equality of opportunity for women, including at leadership levels
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Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Improve water quality by reducing pollution
Increase water-use efficiency to address water scarcity
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Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Substantially increase the global share of renewable energy
Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
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Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Achieve greater productivity through innovation
Promote development-oriented policies
Achieve full and productive employment for all
Eradicate forced labour, modern slavery & human trafficking
Protect and promote safe working environments for all workers
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Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Sustainably manage and make efficient use of natural resources
Manage chemical usage and waste throughout their lifecycle
Reduce waste through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and enhance ESG reporting
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Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Address climate change mitigation for developing countries
Strengthen adaptive capacity to climate-related events
Integrate climate change plans into policies and strategies
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Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Promote the implementation of sustainable management of forests
Take urgent action to reduce degradation of natural habitats
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Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Reduce all forms of violence-related death rates
Reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions
Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms
Other = SDGs less than 2%.
The remaining 28% of our engagement focused on corporate governance, which we view as an essential building block in creating a more sustainable economy.

“The debate on ESG has moved beyond risk and opportunity. The more fundamental question now being asked is what is the role of the financial sector in creating a fairer and more sustainable society?”

Vicki Bakhshi, Director, Analyst, Responsible Investment

Working together for systemic change

Perspectives on stewardship are shifting towards looking more holistically at our responsibilities for shaping the market and economy as a whole. Climate change, ocean health, biodiversity and public health are all key systemic risks that cannot be addressed by engagement with companies alone. Investors must expand their focus to public policy, and building relationships with other stakeholders, including NGOs and academic experts.

Investors across the world step up

Over the past decade, engagement has been almost exclusively led by developed-market investors, primarily in Europe and the US. Given the increasing introduction of responsible investment regulations, guidelines and practices, we expect to see active ownership become a much stronger feature of the local investor agenda in other markets this decade.

Decade of climate action

This decade is vital to achieving the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C, and engagement here is evolving. Collaboration is taking place at an unprecedented scale through the Climate Action 100+ initiative, while investors are increasingly expressing their dissatisfaction with companies failing to address climate issues by voting against management resolutions.

Vicki Bakhshi, Director in our Responsible Investment Team, provides her view on climate change engagement for the future.

Responsible Investment 20 Years of engagement Vicki Bakhshi

The ‘S’ factor

The ‘S’ – social – of ESG has been historically difficult to define and quantify. But the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted society and shaken our assumptions about the way we live. It has also painfully exposed social and economic inequalities.

Against this backdrop, social issues are now among the most pressing issues for companies globally. It has also become clear that all elements of ESG are fundamentally linked and of equal importance.

This decade, we expect investors and data providers to overcome the challenges that have prevented the analysis and integration of social factors to step up their engagement, while carefully balancing interconnections with E and G issues.

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