Further to item "Listed Equity - Engagement"
Vision Super's approach is to engage with companies and exercise our shareholder vote to push for greater transparency, unless we believe that the harm a company causes cannot be improved throughout engagement.
Our approach of engagement and actively voting our shares aims to improve the way companies operate, reduce environmental impact and increase disclosures, where we always aim to have consistently voted for.
We have improved our technology and disclosure around our proxy voting records as they are now available on our website to members, constituents and the general public in real time and made available one business day after the conclusion of an AGM.
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Management is now highlighting to the Investment Committee & Board any controversial meetings across our shareholdings since Directors last meeting. Typically, a contentious meeting is regarded as a meeting that has a high level of public interest or otherwise is expected to divide the investment community for reasons beyond the ordinary course of business. Additionally, we may consider an annual shareholder company meeting to be contentious if one or more ballot items have obtained enough shareholder votes to induce a firm to implement governance changes. Also, we may cover resolutions pulled from the AGM because the company has agreed to the changes.
A significant vote percentage is generally anywhere in the vicinity of 15% or higher against a management proposal or high support for a shareholder proposal would also be deemed contentious.
We also provide a summary in our annual corporate responsibilty report for notable meetings over the course of the financial period relating to shareholder resolutions, director elections, remuneration along with board and management accountability related issues.
The Fund also signed the 2019-20 (rolled over from 2019) Global Investor Statemement to Government's on Climate Change, where we have reiterated our commitment in suport of the Paris Pledge for Action ensuring we send a strong message to governments to implement the actions required to achieve the goals of the agreement. In 2020, the seven investor networks who founded The Investor Agenda will build on this collaborative success and present a new set of policy requests to governments, in order to communicate the needs of investors in the context of the ever-growing urgency to take action to avoid catastrophic climate change. Specifically, IIGCC will revise the statement to focus on the need for ambitious government action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November 2020.
The new statement will be launched publicly later in the year, and be used for engagement with governments globally during policy milestones in the lead-up to COP26. The intervention will come at a vital time in the global process, as governments are being asked by the UNFCCC to step up their national climate ambition this year in order to bring it in line with a pathway which will limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
One focus is to encourage companies to use the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures Reporting Framework (TCFD). We are also talking to our fund our fund managers about TCFD and encouraging them to support these recommendations.
Vision Super also endorsed the "Just Transition" statement that was launched in Poland during COP24.
We have also been involved within the PRI's collaborative engagement on corporate tax responsibility and where we were co-leads with LUCRF on two Australian healthcare companies (Sonic and Rmsay Healthcare), both of which operate in multiple jurisdictions but do not undertake country by country reporting. This reporting would enable a better analysis of companies' tax strategies and also sought to create awareness within companies of investor concerns around aggresive corporate tax practices, improve disclosures along with increased governance and financial reporting.
As part of the PRI collaborative engagement group, the PRI recently released a report that summarised the outcomes of the collaborative engagement on tax transparency which ran from 2017 to 2019. The report aimed to evaluate the progress of the targeted multinational companies in the healthcare and information technology sectors, summary of engagement key points and recommendations from the collaborative initiatives on tax governance.
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We participate in engagement in collaboration with our ESG/Proxy research advisor ACSI. The method of engagement used aims to influence the company's practice, improved disclosure and to gain on their strategy towards overall ESG concerns or issues and also sets a list of company priority engagements based on a number of criteria items each year.
ACSI also uses company engagement and proxy voting advice for ASX-listed companies as tools for managing climate change risks and opportunities.
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ACSI has been engaging with ASX companies for years on the disclosure, integration and management of climate-related risks and opportunities. ACSI engages with a broad range of companies on climate risk and also prioritizes particular companies given their materiality and exposure. As an example, during 2019 there were 20 high-risk companies which ACSI set climate-related targets for, these targets included TCFD adoption, disclosure of how they are managing transition and physical risk, articulation of how their strategy is aligned to the Paris Agreement and how it is integrated in strategic decision-making for acquisitions and capital expenditure.
ACSI is also actively supporting members’ efforts in the Climate Action 100+ initiative, directly engaging companies alongside members who are lead investors and providing other insights like briefing members on discussions to date.
ACSI also uses proxy voting advice as a mechanism to create engagement on climate-related resolutions and as a tool for signalling where improvement on climate-related issues can be made.
ACSI has made submissions in its own right to various regulatory authorities and Federal Government levels on a number of important ESG issues.
These submissions are located in the below website link: