Note this case study relates to fixed income corporate (financial and non-financial and public-equities).
Members of the RI team reviewed the USS quarterly questionnaire responses, published materials on stewardship and RI including the PRI Transparency Report, plus voting data.
A meeting was held between USS's RI team, directors responsible for governance and sustainability, the UK institutional director and client manager at the external manager. It focused on reporting and transparency, active ownership practices, ESG integration, resourcing and ethical fund governance.
On reporting and transparency, the manager explained plans for reporting against the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Their RI reporting is already very well advanced.
On active ownership, the manager provided case studies on company engagements undertaken individually and collaboratively for bonds and equities covering environmental, social and governance issues. For example, a Japanese company where they had contributed to achieving more independent and external directors on the board and a reduced board size.
On ESG integration, they restructured the team, allocating sector responsibilities to aid integration and the bespoke re-weighting of MSCI ESG scores.
They discussed how they carefully assess the purpose of the bond issuance to avoid 'greenwash'.
They discussed advisory committee succession and refreshment.