The official blog of BNP Paribas Asset Management

Sustainability – We believe in stewardship

Writing in BNP Paribas Asset Management’s latest sustainability report, Helena Viñes Fiestas, Global Head of Stewardship and Policy, showcases the firm’s recent achievements, underscoring the importance of active stewardship at BNPP AM as part of its role as a ‘Future Maker’ leading change.

Here are the highlights.

In 2019, we made significant progress on implementing our comprehensive approach to stewardship.

Stewardship Policy

We published our overarching Stewardship Policy in line with the Shareholders Rights Directive II (SRDII). We co-hosted with the PRI an inaugural full-day event dedicated to sustainable finance policy, where we launched our first-ever Public Policy Sustainability Strategy. This articulates our rationale and process for engaging with policymakers and the topics we focus on.

One of the ways we brought this engagement to life was with our active role as a member of the EC Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance.

Engaging on climate change

Climate change was a key theme in our 2019 voting and engagement activities, with a particular focus on tackling corporate climate lobbying.

Gender diversity at the board level also took centre stage in our ballots:

  • We began to vote against the entire board of directors in companies which did not have at least one woman on the board
  • We introduced changes to our voting policy to raise the threshold to 30% of women on boards for companies based in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand starting in January 2020.

Source: BNP Paribas Asset Management’s 2019 sustainability report

Global stewardship

We continued to expand the reach of our stewardship activities by putting in place a Head of Stewardship for Asia, Gabriel Wilson-Otto, after having appointed Adam Kanzer as our Head of Stewardship, Americas, in 2018. This has resulted in a significant rise in our activities in those regions, strengthening our leadership as a global active asset owner.

Source: BNP Paribas Asset Management’s 2019 sustainability report

As long-term investors, we use stewardship – proxy voting, company engagement and policy advocacy – to encourage companies and policymakers to improve their performance on a range of sustainability topics.

This helps us to manage risk in the near and long term, enhances our knowledge and understanding as investors, and creates positive externalities – all of which benefit our clients.

This was a landmark year for our stewardship activities, with a further expansion of our team to have a global reach and substantial progress on climate lobbying and the public policy front.

Also read:

Any views expressed here are those of the author as of the date of publication, are based on available information, and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may hold different views and may take different investment decisions for different clients.

The value of investments and the income they generate may go down as well as up and it is possible that investors will not recover their initial outlay. Past performance is no guarantee for future returns.

Investing in emerging markets, or specialised or restricted sectors is likely to be subject to a higher-than-average volatility due to a high degree of concentration, greater uncertainty because less information is available, there is less liquidity or due to greater sensitivity to changes in market conditions (social, political and economic conditions).

Some emerging markets offer less security than the majority of international developed markets. For this reason, services for portfolio transactions, liquidation and conservation on behalf of funds invested in emerging markets may carry greater risk.

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