We are committed to active ownership as a part of our responsible investment activities. This includes exercising our shareholder rights taking into account ESG considerations and engage with companies on ESG-related topics, either directly or through various organizations and initiatives. In both instances, our goal is to influence the management of ESG risks and opportunities and improve transparency believing that sound corporate governance is an essential element of effective company management and long-term performance; it is essential for companies to address risk effectively. Our proxy voting and engagement activities are ways in which we work to achieve this goal.
UTAM has been a member of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG) since 2008, endorsing their stewardship principles, which speak to the fiduciary obligations of institutional investors in meeting their obligations to their beneficiaries or clients. CCGG engages with Canadian public companies on behalf of institutional investors to promote good governance practices in Canada. UTAM’s President and Chief Investment Officer joined the board of the CCGG in 2019 and now participates in selective CCGG’s engagement activities.
We participate in formal engagement collaborations through membership, alignment or service arrangements with various organizations, however, we also participate in engagements directly through collaborations such as Climate Action 100+, the 30% Club Canada Investor Group, and, as mentioned above, through the CCGG. We also participate selectively in engagements undertaken by our engagement service provider.
Informal collaborations involve like-minded investors coming together to advocate on matters of interest to all participants. We will participate in these wherever it is likely to be of benefit to the University.
Our engagement service provider's approach is based on constructive and confidential company dialogue and on building a relationship of trust, where over time they seek to understand how companies manage ESG risks linked to their activities. They will encourage improvement in ESG management should they deem existing practices insufficient to respond to ESG risks and/or opportunities. We are actively involved in the selection of engagement themes and the companies with which to engage, and, as noted above, participate in selected engagements.