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Engagement Report 2020: Pathfinder and CareSaver KiwiSaver

4 minute read

Engagement Report 2020: Pathfinder and CareSaver KiwiSaver

We cannot positively impact and improve our world by sitting back and being passive. We need to be active.  This means selecting ‘good’ companies to invest in and it also means taking active steps to engage as a responsible and ethical investor.

Sometimes we are invested in a company and want to nudge it to improve in some areas.  Maybe it needs more transparency around carbon emissions or to invest more in new technologies.  Sometimes we need to encourage a company to change the way it operates before we would consider investing. This could be improving practices in its supply chain or reducing its carbon footprint.

Engagement is wider than direct communication with companies and how we vote as a shareholder.  It includes our work in the media and speaking at conferences to raise awareness around ethical investing. It also involves us meeting with companies that have the very highest environmental and social standards so we can learn more about what ‘good’ looks like.

Here’s our report for engagement over 2020.

Direct company engagement 

We engage informally with NZ companies to share our views around environmental, social and governance issues. During 2020 this has included engagement on climate change, medicinal/recreational cannabis regulation and renewable energy.

Our campaigns with major NZ companies

We have written to the top 20 listed companies in New Zealand asking for detail on their climate change and environmental targets. We will share the results in 2021.

Engaging with purposeful companies

We strive to encourage and grow other purposeful companies in NZ. We have met with a range of awesome NZ companies that are disrupting the accepted ways things are done, and include many social enterprises and B Corp certified companies. These have included Eagle Protect, CarbonClick and Sharesies.

Collaborative engagements

We have supported the NZ Super Fund’s engagement with social media companies (the Christchurch Call) and work by the Investor Group on Climate Change.

Engaging with NGOs

As an ethical investor we must be informed and aware on environmental and social issues. We actively meet with NGOs and Foundations to remain consistent with our values of ‘aware, fair and care’. Our engagement has included Akina Foundation, Forest & Bird, Everybody Eats, NZ Anti-Vivisection Society and Garden to Table.

Media work

We had 19 articles published in the media on ethical investment with topics including climate change, animal testing and returns from investing ethically. Media who published our articles included Stuff, NZ Herald, The Spinoff and Good Magazine.

Ethical investing podcasts

We participated in 10 podcasts on ethical investing through 2020 including with Mindful Monday, Sharesies, This Climate Business and Seeds.

Conferences and community presentations on ethical investment

We spoke at 11 conferences and community events on topics including ethical investing, medicinal cannabis and impact investing. Examples include events organised by the Sustainability Trust, Mind Lab, NZ Super Fund and Otago University. Our CEO is also on the organising committee for the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia conference.

Shareholder voting

We have voted 4,814 times on resolutions so far in 2020. Of these, 280 of our votes (5%) have been against management recommendations.

ESG shareholding voting

Below we set out our voting on 147 key ESG resolutions we identified:

Environmental (11):

  • Examples an ESG issues voted on:
    Many resolutions have demanded more transparency around climate reporting. For example, a UPS shareholder focused on the company’s contribution to climate change
  • Our thinking: 
    We believe increased disclosure allows shareholders to better understand the company’s role in climate change and their resilience to climate-related risks.
  • % of time we voted against management: 64%

Social (45):

  • Examples an ESG issues voted on:
    Increasingly complex supply chains require high levels of transparency. For example, we supported a shareholder proposal asking Tesla to increase reporting on human rights issues.
  • Our thinking:
    Tesla’s products use resources sourced through complex and global supply chains. Cobalt is produced largely in the DRC where child labour is pervasive. While Tesla has policies and practises to remove child labour from the supply chain as much as possible, we believe further reporting is important.
  • % of time we voted against management: 53%

Governance (91):

  • Examples an ESG issues voted on:
    Well governed companies manage ESG factors more effectively and are lower risk investments. For example, we supported shareholder proposals at Amazon’s AGM seeking the board’s Chair to be an independent director.
  • Our thinking:
    Independent directors should provide robust oversight of risk and management accountability. Independence is especially important in the Chair of a Board.
  • % of time we voted against management: 56%

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