Asset stewardship, through company engagement and exercising voting rights, is an integral part of BT’s approach to managing investment risk associated with climate change. When considering companies’ approaches to climate change, our focus is on encouraging the companies we invest in to understand, address and disclose climate-related risks in their business. This is a critical step in the low carbon transition.
Where BT holds voting rights, we believe we have the responsibility to cast votes to influence the corporate governance of the companies in which we invest. Participation in the voting process allows BT to impact companies to protect our customers’ interests. In regards to proxy voting on company resolutions, we provide our underlying portfolio managers with the authority to vote on our behalf, and require votes to be cast in the best interests of investors. For contentious issues, such as shareholder proposals, including those related to climate change, we may choose to direct external portfolio managers on how votes are to be cast. In these cases we may consider the views of our customers and expert external views, including those of our engagement providers and proxy advisers, when we decide how a proxy should be voted across our holdings.
As part of our commitment to transparency, we disclose our voting results on our website bt.com.au/sustainability.
BT uses a combination of engagement approaches. We primarily engage through EOS (global companies) and Regnan – Governance Research & Engagement (Regnan) (domestic companies). EOS and Regnan’s engagement approaches use pooled assets, meaning they act on behalf of multiple managers, to provide a higher level of influence, along with economies of scale. We also engage through our external portfolio managers, in their direct discussions with companies. At a corporate level, BT is also playing an active role in collaborative engagement efforts, such as Climate Action 100+. This is a five-year initiative led by investors to engage systemically important greenhouse gas emitters and other companies across the global economy that have significant opportunities to drive the clean energy transition and help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Participating investors are calling on companies to improve governance on climate change, curb emissions and strengthen climate-related financial disclosures.
We seek to influence how companies manage their climate-related risk and to drive positive outcomes across industries.
More information on our approach is provided in BT's climate-related disclosure available at bt.com.au/sustainability