Environmental: 20% of our engagement was on environmental issues, and climate change remained firmly in the spotlight. Extreme weather events and calls for global action to curb emissions easily made climate change one of the top stories in 2018 worldwide. We engaged actively with companies across highly-exposed industries on issues such as emissions management, adaptation, innovation and climate-related disclosures. Besides climate change, we spent time talking to relevant companies about their approach to tackling plastic pollution, an issue for which public awareness and action, and hence business risks, snowballed last year.
Social: 40% of our engagement was on social themes and we continued doing extensive work on labour practices. Areas of particular focus were modern slavery, freedom of association, and supply chains.
We also stepped up our efforts on health issues linked to sugar, as governments and the general public pay increasing attention to the consequences of high sugar consumption. We engaged food & beverage and restaurant companies around the world to encourage them to incorporate regulatory developments and changing consumer preferences as they work on their long-term business strategies.
Governance: 40% of our engagement was on corporate governance topics in 2018. Given that well-functioning boards are critical for long-term value creation, our governance engagement has continued to be focussed on board effectiveness. In addition, we discussed topics relating to director nomination, board composition, diversity, refreshment, evaluation, internal controls and executive remuneration.
Sustainable Development Goals: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed by the UN and cross-industry stakeholders with a view to providing a roadmap towards a more sustainable world. The SDGs, which were endorsed by all 193 UN member states, are ambitious and high-level with 169 underlying targets. In 2018, we advanced our work to understand how our engagement can support the SDGs. Whereas previously we considered this at a goal level, we now use the detailed underlying SDG targets to frame company engagement objectives, where relevant, as well as to articulate the positive societal and environmental impacts of engagement.