Our Engagements

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.

Milestone methodology


Figure 5: Milestone Methodology

Engagement milestones overview

This figure displays how the total of 90 engagements for change are split across four milestones as of the end of 2021. Per each milestone, the breakdown of environmental- (E), social- (S) and governance- (G) related engagements are shown. In total we led  38 direct engagements for change on environmental themes, 16 on social, and 35 on governance-related matters in 2021.

Figure 6:Milestone status 2021

Most ‘engagements for change’ moved forward one or more milestones in 2021. 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. We initiated a sector-wide climate engagement for several strategies, to help advance the commitments and action for limiting climate change. We will continue these engagements in 2022 as well.   

Overall, we saw good progress in our dialogues with more than half showing a positive direction of travel. 14 engagements have reached milestone 4 this year,  which means engagements were successfully completed.  

Milestone progress in 2021


Figure 7 shows how many ‘engagements for change’ progressed on our four milestones in 2021 – highlighting the concrete results our engagements delivered during this year.

Around one in three engagements showed no milestone progress during the year. For some companies it takes a longer time to move from milestone 3 (Policy in place) to milestone 4 (Policy is implemented) due to the complexity of rolling out new policies and approaches across the company or in their supply chain. That however does not mean that the companies did not make progress of ‘sub-objectives’ – the overwhelming majority of our engagements were on a positive trajectory. 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.   

In 2021, 33 engagements progressed one milestone, 16 progressed two milestones, 6 reached a progress of three milestones. We have reviewed our milestone approach in 2021 and are now counting milestone progress between 1 and 4 (instead of 0 and 4), as our first step ‘Raise concern with the company’ would simply measure our effort and not be indicative of progress made by the company we engage. Due to our more stringent methodology, from 2021 onward, a total of 3 milestones could be reached.

Figure 7: Milestone progress per end 2021

Engagement progress since 2019

In comparison to the last couple of years, there was an increase in the total number of engagements. 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, some of them sector-wide, which we will also continue in 2022.  

Figure 8: MILESTONE PROGRESS PER END 2019, 2020 and 2021

OECD RBC engagements

In Appendix II to this report, you can find an overview of our most significant 2021 engagements on themes covered by the OECD Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) guideline. It covers engagements on both actual and potential adverse impacts and how these are mitigated.

Engagement factsheets 

Once an engagement for change progresses – or stall for a longer time – we capture this development in engagement factsheets. Our full list of ESG engagement factsheets can be viewed here. For this report, we have chosen to highlight the following engagements:

  • China Gas Holdings, a company we engaged with around their health and safety measures related to pipeline explosions they suffered.
  • Malaysia Airports, who we talked to about emissions reduction measures, and their degree of influence with airlines.
  • BMW – who we talked to on their scope 3 emissions reduction target and efforts to be Paris aligned
  • Vesuvius – a metal flow engineering company who we've also inquired with regarding their climate-related ambitions 
  • MTN – a South African telecom company on digital rights, freedom of expression and human rights due diligence 
  • Allied Properties – who we also talked to about their Paris-alignment strategy 
  • Wells Fargo - a company tied up in fraudulent business practice controversy, and has been working for a few years on changing their corporate culture 

Our main memberships and collaborative engagements listed here.

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