In spite of anti-ESG sentiment in the US, ESG continues to be a hot topic for investors around the world. A new survey from AQTION polled the world’s top 65 investors on ESG issues. The results show that investors are still a driving force behind ESG, and that their interests expand beyond climate commitments. According to the survey:
- Fifty-five (55) of the respondents have Stewardship Teams as either the standalone decision-maker or joint arbiter with a Portfolio/Fund Manager.
- Investors increasingly expect boards to monitor a company’s sustainability strategy. Twenty (20) of the respondents want either a board-level committee or climate/sustainability experts present on a board.
- Twenty-five (25) of the respondents have published their expectations on biodiversity.
- Thirty (30) of the respondents include their approach to contested situations/activism within their voting policy, with contested board elections being most widely covered.
- Activist tactics are becoming more prevalent, with 18 of the respondents investors having registered public discontent against portfolio companies in the past 3 years.
Governance of E&S remains a major issue for investors. That is unsurprising given the nature of governance as a cross-cutting issue affecting all other facets of E&S. The survey also reflects a growing interest in biodiversity which may come as a surprise. Biodiversity has been gaining attention as a major ESG issue and disclosure frameworks like the TNFD are beginning to draw attention. It will be interesting to see if investor focus on biodiversity persists, or if their attention moves elsewhere.
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