"At Kempen we are determined to leverage our influence on sustainability across the value chain, working with clients, managers and companies to help them achieve both financial returns and sustainable impacts."
Narina Mnatsakanian, Executive director Impact & Responsible Investment
Our engagement approach
Through our engagements, we seek to encourage positive change at companies. We engage on a broad range of strategic, financial, corporate governance, environmental and social aspects in order to:
- Be informed about corporate strategy, policies and programmes and increase our understanding of a company;
- Ensure that companies’ boards and management teams have proper oversight and management of ESG risks, and that companies sufficiently embrace environmental and social opportunities; and
- Encourage companies to adopt corporate governance best practices.
We differentiate between
Engagement for awareness: Aim to raise awareness about a certain issue among our investee companies or to get more information on a particular company.
Engagement for change: Have concrete objectives with specific timelines set in advance specifying what we would like to achieve. Progress of these engagements is measured via milestones achieved.
Public policy and collaborative engagements: Aim to improve the overall landscape of (financial) markets and general level of ESG performance in particular sectors, markets and geographies.
OVERVIEW OF KEMPEN'S MILESTONE METHODOLOGY
- Raise concern: Kempen identifies the issue and brings it to the attention of the relevant board members or management team of a company;
- Company acknowledgement: The company acknowledges the importance of the issue raised to the company or its stakeholders and commits to resolving the issue;
- Company policy: Company has developed or improved its policy to deal with the specific issue; and
- Company implements programme (closing of the engagement): The company can provide clear evidence that the policy or strategy is fully implemented and that there is clear accountability from the top.
Engagement milestones overview
This figure displays how the total of 82 engagements are split across four milestones as of the end of 2020. Per each milestone, the breakdown of environmental- (E), social- (S) and governance- (G) related engagements are shown. In total we led 35 direct engagements for change on environmental themes, 17 on social, and 30 on governance-related matters in 2020.
Figure 4: Summary of all engagements for change per milestone per end 2020
Milestone progress in 2020
104 ENGAGEMENT MILESTONES ACHIEVED ACROSS 82 ENGAGEMENTS
This figure shows how many ‘engagements for change’ progressed on our four milestones approach in 2020 – highlighting the concrete results our engagements delivered during this year.
Most ‘engagements for change’ moved forward one or more milestones in 2020. We engaged more frequently on environmental and governance issues than on social issues. Regarding the former, climate change was by far the most significant topic and we expect more climate change-related engagements going forward, as the sense of urgency and importance of climate issues is rising for all stakeholders. Overall we saw good progress in our dialogues with more than half showing a positive direction of travel. 20 engagements have reached milestone 4 this year, which means engagements were successfully completed, there were two of them that were also initiated at milestone 0 earlier in 2020 - meaning the company successfully implemented policies to fix areas of concern.
Around one in four engagements showed no progress during the year – in some cases because progress has stalled, while in other cases because we are no longer invested in the company. Furthermore, some engagements take more time before company can implement our required ask and engagement is able to reach the next milestone. Only three engagements for change have developed negatively, meaning that the dialogue and expected results from the engagement with the investee company were not satisfactory, in our view.
As the below table shows, 31 engagements reached one milestone in 2020, 16 progressed two milestones, 11 reached a delta of three milestones. Two engagements were initiated and completed successfully in 2020.
Figure 5: Number of engagements for change milestones achieved
Table 2: Milestone progress per end 2019 and 2020
Comparing our 2020 engagement progress to 2019
In comparison to last year, there was an increase in the total number of engagements as well as in the number milestones reached. This can be attributed to the focus of investment teams on proactive engagements for change.
We commenced or continued a number of climate-related engagement cases. There were also several engagements that we initiated in 2019 and where more progress was achieved in 2020 in terms of company responsiveness and follow up actions.
OECD RBC engagements
For an overview of our most significant 2020 engagements on themes covered by the OECD Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) guidelines, please click here. It covers engagements on both actual and potential adverse impacts and how these are mitigated.
Engagement themes 2021-2023
Looking to the coming years, we will continue to focus our company engagements on constructive dialogues around strategy and disclosure, climate change and other relevant environmental themes, labour and human rights and governance.
Figure 6: Engagement themes 2021-2023