Our approach to evaluation focuses on the identification of sector-specific material ESG risks. For each sector, we establish baseline expectations: measures that companies in this sector must fulfill in order to satisfy us that they are managing material ESG risks appropriately. Companies must satisfy baseline expectations in order to be included in the Ethical Funds branded portfolio.
We are committed to using the special rights that come with shareholder status to create positive change on behalf of our investors. We believe it is more effective to advance sustainability through corporate engagement than through exclusion and divestment alone. The centrepiece of our corporate engagement strategy is the Focus List – an annual program of targeted, in-depth dialogues on specific ESG topics. Focus List companies include sector leaders capable of breakthroughs in corporate sustainability practice and disclosure, sector laggards that need to catch up with the leaders, and companies facing major sustainability challenges that are under special observation for continuing inclusion in Ethical Funds.
ESG Services has implemented a Code of Conduct for Engaging External Parties. The Code is signed annually by all members of the ESG Services team and is intended to establish industry-leading standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability for our socially responsible investing program. We believe this Code is unique within the investment industry in Canada.