At BMO Global Asset Management (EMEA), now part of Columbia Threadneedle Investments, we are determined to continue to engage constructively with businesses with the aim of achieving positive results, particularly on issues of sustainability. We’ve been doing so for more than two decades.
The prevalence of extreme weather events, including forest fires and flash floods, over the past year – combined with the ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic – have made us even more convinced of the need to act in the interests of the planet and its future.
With this, and our continued belief in active ownership, in mind, we’ve now fine-tuned our approach for the year ahead. Our central focus in our engagement with companies will be the key environmental issues of combating climate change and protecting biodiversity.
We will also continue to engage in the area of executive pay, specifically around the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk metrics, and we will impress on companies the importance of their human rights obligations.
“Our central focus in our engagement with companies will be the key environmental issues of combating climate change and protecting biodiversity.”
One of our main priorities this year will be to hold companies to account for the previous commitments they have made in areas such as net-zero pledges and strategies for decarbonising.
Climate change and biodiversity
Our engagement on climate change will focus on the planned phasing out of ‘unabated’ coal generation, whose emissions are not mitigated by carbon capture and storage technologies. This is due in the developed world by 2030, and by 2050 in developing markets, in line with the Paris Agreement. While our engagement will be in all sectors, we will concentrate on mining and utilities, identifying laggard countries as well as companies. We will take forward our ongoing work with the Climate Action 100+ coalition and on energy efficiency in the Real Estate sector.
On biodiversity, we will step up our engagement in the most critical sectors, including food and drinks, ‘extractives’ such as mining and quarrying, materials, transport and finance. We will be looking for strategies, targets and metrics for mitigating biodiversity risks.
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Meet the author
Meet the author
Alice Evans, Managing Director, co-head Responsible Investment
Alice returned to BMO Global Asset Management in 2018 having previously worked here as a fund manager from 2010 to 2016, most recently as Co-Lead Manager of the Responsible Global Equity Fund. Prior to BMO, Alice gained ten years of investment experience initially at JP Morgan Asset Management then at Henderson Global Investors, as a fund manager on the Sustainable & Responsible Investment funds, and as a healthcare sector specialist. Alice has a successful track record as a portfolio manager in responsible investment and brings the Responsible Investment team first-hand experience of integrating ESG issues into investment research and decision making. Outside BMO, Alice holds a pro bono role as a panel member for the funding programme of the National Institute of Health Research. Alice holds an MSci in Physics from the University of Bristol and is a CFA Charterholder.