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Engagement with stock listed companies: 2009 achievements

by Research

01-03-2010 | Did you know that Triodos’ 2009 engagement efforts prompted:

  • Hypermarket Metro to develop a no animal testing policy for own brand products
  • Food retailer Wessanen to develop policies on deforestation and supply chain management?
  • Chemical giant DSM to include sustainability performance in its remuneration policy?
  • Several financial institutions to introduce blacklists of arms producers and to sharpen their policies on anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs?

In accordance with the Triodos Investment Strategy, we encourage companies to improve sustainable business performance. Through dialogue and other engagement activities, we aim to raise awareness of sustainability issues, stimulate action and inspire change.  Engagement with companies occurs during the selection and monitoring of companies, minimum standard development, and responsible share ownership activities.

DSM case highlights responsible shareholder action

In February of this year, chemical company DSM announced that at next month’s annual meeting, shareholders will vote on a new bonus scheme. The scheme proposes that half of the management board bonuses will be tied to sustainability targets such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, the introduction of environmentally friendly products and improvements in employee satisfaction. The other half will continue to be based on financial targets.

This proposal follows Triodos’ successful collaboration with other stakeholders to raise questions on directors’ remuneration and sustainability targets at last year’s annual meeting. DSM sought further input from Triodos Bank, with this rewarding result.

Company engagement report 2009

In 2009 Triodos Sustainability Research had almost 700 engagement contacts with companies. Most frequent engagement topics were animal testing, genetic engineering, environmental damage and arms. For a complete list of activities and results, download the Company Engagement Report 2009 below.

Focus on arms and financial institutions

  • In 2009 Triodos Sustainability Research further tightened the criteria for financial institutions’ involvement in arms. The new minimum standard led to the removal of a number of companies from Triodos’ investment universe. More importantly, our dialogue triggered several institutions to:
  • Develop an arms-related policy or strengthen current policies (Westpac, Barclays)
  • Start a blacklist of arms producers or extend its existing list (Daiwa Securities, KBC, SNS Reaal, Storebrand)
  • Apply its existing arms policy across a wider scope (Rabobank, ING)
  • Commit to ending involvement with arms companies (Dexia, Sarasin)