Boldly growing the good: our Q2 2021 Stewardship Report

A roundup of our responsible investing activities in Q2 2021.
August 2021

Risk warnings

The value of investments and any income derived from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the original amount invested.

The information, opinions, estimates or forecasts contained in this document were obtained from sources reasonably believed to be reliable and are subject to change at any time.

At BMO GAM, we invest with a purpose – to boldly grow the good. We aim to drive positive change by engaging companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and through thoughtful voting. Our quarterly stewardship report outlines our latest engagement and voting activity, measuring our impact through our alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Q2 2021 engagement highlights

  • 307 companies engaged
  • 112 instances of positive change (milestones) achieved
  • 34 countries covered

Engaging on human rights

Ten years ago, the United Nations formalised the responsibility of business, including institutional investors, to respect human rights via the launch of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Since then, expectations from employees, suppliers, clients, governments and wider society have only increased. The climate emergency, widening economic inequality and the global COVID-19 pandemic have played a significant role in driving those expectations even higher in the past year.

In the past year we have increased our engagement activities around human rights. This quarter alone, we participated in a handful of collaborative engagement projects addressing issues such as human rights due diligence, impacts of facial recognition technologies, potential human rights abuses from operations in Myanmar, and challenges staff in nursing homes face.

Big Oil’s bad day

On climate, big oil faced a day of reckoning on May 26, 2021. ExxonMobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell received blows, led by shareholders in the cases of Exxon and Chevron, that could force them to re-think their business models. After years of engaging with these companies on their approach to decarbonisation and wider climate change management issues, we joined the chorus of investor discontent by escalating our engagement at the ballot box.

Exercising our right to vote

Proxy voting is a key part of our stewardship responsibilities. The second quarter sees the highest volume of shareholder meetings in many of the primary capital markets such as the US, UK and Japan. This results in over half of the shareholder meetings voted annual falling in this quarter alone.

Our Q2 2021 voting highlights

  • 7,094 company meetings voted
  • 79,708 items voted

Milestones achieved by issue:

  • 54% of milestones related to directors and boards
  • 15% of milestones related to renumeration
  • 31% of milestones related to shareholder rights and transparency
Risk warnings

The value of investments and any income derived from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the original amount invested.

The information, opinions, estimates or forecasts contained in this document were obtained from sources reasonably believed to be reliable and are subject to change at any time.

Use our handy glossary to look up any technical terms you are unfamiliar with.

Use our handy glossary to look up any technical terms you are unfamiliar with.

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