ESG and sustainable investing How will 10,432 votes help with sustainable investing?

Acting as good stewards of our clients' assets is critical to our sustainable investing activities.

06 Aug 2020

Good stewardship is key in sustainable investing

UBS Asset Management began investing sustainably over twenty years ago. During that time we have seen ESG rise to the very top of our clients' investment agenda.

Good stewardship of our clients' assets is a critical to our sustainable investing activities, which is why we regard engagement and proxy voting as intrinsic parts of the investment process.

Our 2019 Stewardship Report details our approach to stewardship and highlights some positive outcomes from our dialogues with companies.

This Stewardship Report is produced annually, a practice we have kept with for over two decades. This is to ensure that our proxy voting and engagement activities are transparent and a matter of public record.

ESG and sustainable investing Stewardship by the numbers

Stewardship activities in 2019

358

company engagements conducted

10,432

votes casted

104,372

resolutions voted on

Our dialogues and sharing of best practice are influencing corporate behavior and we are starting to see a number of positive outcomes.

ESG and sustainable investing Outcome of our engagements – a case study

Topics addressed: Transparency & Disclosure, Environmental Management & Climate Change, Community Impact & Human Rights

The company was selected for engagement due to:

  • Insufficient ESG disclosure 
  • Lack of evidence about the reduction of corporate environmental footprint 
  • Lack of communication about its approach to premium products, including plant-based, low sugar, and organic products

Based on our initial research, we encouraged the company to use best practice frameworks for disclosure, take actions to reduce GHG emissions, establish a water and animal feed / treatment strategy, and increase information on initiatives to grow the share of healthy / premium products.

Outcome

Progress is proving positive. A lengthy engagement took place, where we explained the reasons and rationale for engaging and also shared expectations / recommendations for improvement (including sharing of best practice examples.)

A follow-up was held following release of the new corporate social responsibility (CSR) report. We saw significant improvements around reporting. The company now uses the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework and works with an external consultant to continue improving disclosure. It's also engaging with FAIRR on enhanced environmental practices. More information has been shared by the company on their strategy towards premium / more nutritious foods.

We continue to engage to encourage the company to:

  • Extend its water strategy to its suppliers 
  • Set carbon reduction targets for its suppliers.

For more engagement case studies, read the UBS-AM Stewardship Report 2019 (PDF, 4 MB).

Subscribe now

Perspectives matter. Tune in to our insights.


ESG and sustainable investing How we engage and what did we speak about?

How do we engage?

Our aim is to build relationships with company management to foster healthy dialogue and enhance performance on a variety of issues.

During 2019, we held over 1400 meetings with prospective or investee companies. Of these, 358 met our definition of engagement. Approximately one third of those meetings were thematic and 19 were focused on UNGC violations. They covered 231 companies across regions and sectors. The majority had global operations and supply chains but were headquartered in developed markets.

In 2019, we introduced an enhanced internal tracking system to assess the progress of dialogue against defined engagement objectives. 23% of our company engagements showed progress against identified areas for improvements to manage risks and take advantage of new opportunities.

Collaborating with other investors

We engage with companies individually and in collaboration with other investors.

Collaborating with peers help us convey one consistent message to companies on systemic issues which could severely impact financial markets (i.e., climate change). 13% of our 2019 engagements were collaborative.

52% of our engagement meetings were held with the CEO/CFO or another C-suite representative. In approximately 34% of cases we met the Chair or an independent Board member. 31% of our engagement meetings were conducted with an ESG expert, such as the head of the sustainability department.

>50% of engagement meetings are with C-suites

52%

meetings with CEO/CFO or C-suite

34%

met with Chair or independent Board member

31%

with company’s ESG expert

Topics addressed during our engagements

Our dialogue with companies covered a wide range of topics. A large proportion of the engagements focused on governance, remuneration, business strategy and capital management.

One engagement meeting will likely address more than one topic. In total we held 358 engagements in 2019.

Topics

Topics

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

Topics

Corporate Governance

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

191

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

53%

Topics

Strategy & Business Model

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

150

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

42%

Topics

Remuneration

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

138

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

39%

Topics

Environmental Management & Climate Change

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

133

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

37%

Topics

Transparency & Disclosure

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

107

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

30%

Topics

Business Conduct & Culture

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

81

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

23%

Topics

Capital Management

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

82

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

23%

Topics

Human Capital Management & Labor Standards

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

63

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

18%

Topics

Operational Management

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

57

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

16%

Topics

Community Impact & Human Rights

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

28

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

8%

Topics

Audit & Accounting

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

26

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

7%

More insights

Singapore Retail Investors

PLEASE READ THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING. BY UTILIZING THE WEBSITE AND PAGES THEREOF LOCATED AT WWW.UBS.COM/AM-SG ("WEBSITE"), YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ THESE TERMS AS WELL AS THE GLOBAL TERMS OF USE (collectively "TERMS") AND THAT YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO ALL OF THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT, YOU ARE NOT AN AUTHORIZED USER OF THESE SERVICES AND YOU SHOULD NOT USE THIS WEBSITE.

This website is not intended for and should not be accessed by persons located or resident in any jurisdiction where (by reason of that person's nationality, domicile, residence or otherwise) the publication or availability of this website is prohibited or contrary to local law or regulation or would subject any UBS entity to any registration or licensing requirements in such jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to be aware of, to obtain all relevant regulatory approvals, licenses, verifications and/or registrations under, and to observe all applicable laws and regulations of any relevant jurisdiction in connection with your entrance to this website. Each investment product and service referred to on this website is intended to be made available only to residents in Singapore.

UBS reserves the right to change, modify, add or remove content on the website as well as these terms at any time for any reason without notice. Such changes shall be effective immediately upon posting. You acknowledge that by accessing our website after we have posted changes to these terms, you are agreeing to these terms as modified.

The materials on this Website are distributed by UBS Asset Management (Singapore) Ltd (company registration number: 199308367C), which is licensed by Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") in Singapore pursuant to the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289 of Singapore). UBS Asset Management (Singapore) Ltd is part of the Asset Management business division of UBS Group AG. UBS Asset Management (Singapore) Ltd together with UBS Group AG and its group companies shall collectively be referred to as "UBS".

The information contained in this Website has been prepared and is intended for general circulation. The information does not constitute advice and does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any particular person. The investment services or products referred to in this Website may not be suitable for all investors. UBS recommends that you independently evaluate particular investments and strategies and seek independent advice from a financial adviser regarding the suitability of such investment products, taking into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs, before making a commitment to purchase any investment products. Investment involves risks. You should be aware that investments may increase or decrease in value and that past performance is not indicative of future performance.

The information contained in this Website is not an offer to buy or sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any investment product or to participate in any particular trading strategy. UBS, its officers and/or employees may have interests in any of the investment products referred to on this Website by acting in various roles. UBS, its officers and/or employees may receive fees, commissions or other benefits for acting in those capacities. In addition, UBS, its officers and/or employees may buy or sell investment products as principal or agent and may effect transactions which are not consistent with the information set out in this Website.

You fully understand and agree that, by making available this Website, UBS should not be construed as making: (a) any endorsement of any investment product referred to in this Website; (b) any representation that UBS has performed any due diligence on any investment product referred to in this Website; or (c) any representation that the information in this Website is complete, accurate, clear, fair and not misleading. The use or reliance on any such information contained in this Website is at your own risk and any losses which may be suffered as a result of you entering into any investment are for your account and UBS shall not be liable for any losses arising from or incurred by you in connection therewith. UBS is not responsible or liable for the accuracy and completeness of any such information or the performance or outcome of any investment made by you after receipt of such information, irrespective of whether such information was provided at your request.

Using, copying, redistributing or republishing any part of this Website without prior written permission from UBS is prohibited. Any statements made regarding investment performance objectives, risk and/or return targets shall not constitute a representation or warranty that such objectives or expectations will be achieved or risks are fully disclosed. The information and opinions contained in this Website is based upon information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and in good faith but no responsibility is accepted for any misrepresentation, errors or omissions. All such information and opinions are subject to change without notice. A number of comments in this Website are based on current expectations and are considered “forward-looking statements”. Actual future results may prove to be different from expectations and any unforeseen risk or event may arise in the future. The opinions expressed are a reflection of UBS’s judgment at the time this document is compiled and any obligation to update or alter forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise is disclaimed.

UBS does not hold out any of its officers and/or employees as having any authority to advise you, and UBS does not purport to advise you on any investment product. Any investment will be made at your sole risk and UBS is not and shall not, in any manner, be liable or responsible for the consequences of any investment.

This Website and its contents are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis. UBS does not warrant: (a) the accuracy, timeliness, adequacy commercial value or completeness of this Website or its contents, and expressly disclaims any liability for errors, delays or omissions in the contents, or for any action taken in reliance on the contents; (b) that your use of and/or access to this Website or its contents, will be uninterrupted, timely, secure or free from errors or that any identified defect will be corrected; (c) that this Website or any content will meet your requirements or are free from any virus or other malicious, destructive or corrupting code, agent, program or macros; (d) that any information, instructions or communications posted or transmitted by you through this Website is secure and cannot be accessed by unauthorised third parties; and (e) that use of the contents in this Website by you will not infringe the rights of any third parties. No warranty of any kind, implied, express or statutory, including but not limited to the warranties of non-infringement of third party rights, title, merchantability, satisfactory quality or fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from computer virus or other malicious, destructive or corrupting code, agent, program or macros, is given in conjunction with this Website.

You hereby agree to indemnify UBS and any of its officers, employees or agents against, and to keep UBS and any of its officers, employees or agents harmless from, any claims (actual and threatened), settlement sums, liability, loss, damages, costs (including solicitor and client costs and expenses (legal or otherwise)), charges, expenses, actions, proceedings, whether foreseeable or not which we may sustain, suffer or incur, directly or indirectly out of or in the course of or in connection with any the following: (a) any use of this Website or the contents by you, or any part thereof; (b) UBS having made available the Website; (c) any breach of these Terms by you, however arising; or (d) any negligence, act or omission, wilful default, unlawful act, fraud and/or misconduct on your part or violation of any rights of another person or entity by you.

The funds referred to in this Website have been authorised or recognised by the MAS for sale to the public in Singapore (the “Funds”). Copies of the registered Singapore prospectuses ("Prospectuses") referred to in this Website have been lodged with and registered by the MAS. The MAS assumes no responsibility for the contents of the Prospectuses. The registration of the Prospectuses by the MAS does not imply that the SFA or any other legal or regulatory requirements have been complied with.

MAS registration is not a recommendation or endorsement of a Fund nor does it guarantee the commercial merits or performance of such Fund. It does not mean that a Fund is suitable for all investors nor is it an endorsement of its suitability for any particular investor or class of investors. UBS Asset Management (Singapore) Ltd has been appointed as the representative for the Funds in Singapore for the purposes of performing administrative and other related functions relating to the offer of Shares under Section 287 of the Securities and Futures Act, Chapter 289 of Singapore (the "SFA") and such other functions as the MAS may prescribe.

You may not assign your rights under the Terms without our prior written consent. UBS Asset Management (Singapore) Ltd may assign our rights under the Terms to any third party.

No person or entity who is not a party to the Terms shall have any right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act, Chapter 53B of Singapore or other similar laws to enforce any term of the Terms regardless of whether such person or entity has been identified by name, as a member of a class or as answering a particular description. For the avoidance of doubt, this shall not affect the rights of any permitted assignee or transferee of the Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by, and shall be construed in accordance with, the laws of Singapore. The courts of Singapore shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any suit, action or proceeding, and to settle any disputes, which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms and, for such purposes, you agree to submit  to the jurisdiction of the courts of Singapore. Each party hereby waives any objection which it might at any time have to the courts of Singapore being nominated as the forum to hear and determine any proceedings and to settle any disputes and agrees not to claim that the courts of Singapore are not a convenient or appropriate forum.

© UBS 2020 - the key symbol and UBS are among the registered and unregistered trademarks of UBS. All rights reserved.

Reset