Shropshire County Pension Fund is addressing its social responsibility through a strategy of responsible engagement with companies. As a shareholder, the fund is a part owner in a large number of companies and by entering into dialogue with these companies it is felt that there is potential to achieve change from the inside.
Given that the fund does not have the resources to regularly visit the companies itself, an external advisor has been employed to develop an engagement programme. Columbia Threadneedle Investments provide this responsible engagement overlay on the fund’s UK Equities portfolios. Columbia Threadneedle enter into dialogue with companies on the fund’s behalf to put to them the case for improved financial performance through better management of the negative impacts they might have on the environment and society in general.
Columbia Threadneedle view engagement not only as a tool to identify and manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, but also as a route to create positive impact for the environment and society by supporting the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Columbia Threadneedle are an active supporter of Climate Action 100+, either co-leading or supporting 48 of the individual company engagements. They also contribute to the strategic direction of CA100+ via the new Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) Corporate Programme Advisory Group.
Climate Action 100+ is an investor-led initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change. A total of 166 companies that are critical to the transition to a low carbon global economy are being engaged. The three pre-agreed challenges to these companies are: to implement a strong governance framework on climate change; take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain; and provide enhanced corporate disclosure.
Columbia Threadneedle completed 1,424 engagement activities across 633 companies in the 12 months to June 2022. This resulted in the achievement of 211 key milestones at companies with which they were engaged.
The engagements reports are publicly available on the council’s website by following the path under councillors and committees to the quarterly pensions committee.
The fund’s Annual report sets out a summary of the main issues from the year. The detail below is taken from the 2021/22 Annual Report.
Please see the pages below to learn exactly how the fund is making an active effort to invest responsibly and adhere to its commitments.