BMO Private Equity Trust PLC

Sustainability & ESG

Responsible investment is core to the approach adopted by BMO. With over three decades of experience, BMO believes that ESG factors can reduce risk and underpin long-term returns and is committed to integrating ESG in all asset classes.

As a strong supporter of the Sustainable Development Goals, it also believes in using its influence as an investor to promote long-term sustainability. It was a founding member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and has held an A+ rating for Strategy and Governance for the past three years.

As part of this ESG integration, the Manager actively engages with its underlying fund managers (General Partners or GPs) to encourage them to develop responsible investment policies that address ESG risks, both during the pre-investment due diligence phase and throughout their tenure as shareholders.

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.

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.

ESG engagement in Practice

Since 2014, the Manager has undertaken an annual survey of underlying fund managers across its private equity business to determine the extent to which they have provided staff with ESG training, formalised ESG policies, applied a code of conduct or recognised set of guidelines, employed staff with specific ESG responsibilities and produced ESG reporting.

These surveys which act as an encouragement to underlying fund managers have reported improvement.  Since 2016 the percentage of managers with an ESG policy has increased from 70% to 91%. Reporting to investors on ESG matters has also risen from 53% to 72%.

2021

Last year we focussed on training and encouraging managers to consider the use of impact measurement, for example Sustainable Development Goal targets, where relevant. Both areas have seen substantial improvement, with the proportion of managers providing ESG training in the last 12 months increasing by 12% to 58% and the proportion of managers looking to measure impact more than doubling from 27% to 58%. We will continue to track progress over the coming year, together with an increased focus on social issues and diversity.

Learn more about responsible investing at BMO here.

*As at 31 December 2020

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