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Boston Trust Walden

PRI reporting framework 2020

You are in Direct - Listed Equity Incorporation » Outputs and outcomes

Outputs and outcomes

LEI 12. How ESG incorporation has influenced portfolio composition

12.1. Indicate how your ESG incorporation strategies have influenced the composition of your portfolio(s) or investment universe.

Describe any reduction in your starting investment universe or other effects.

Relative to the appropriate broad market indices, we estimate ESG portfolio screening alone would rule out approximately 35-40% of Large Cap companies and 10%-20% of Small and SMID Cap companies.

Since ESG integration applies to all  clients, whereas portfolio screening is a service for a subset of clients (a client-driven mandate), observed differences between Boston Trust Walden portfolios and screened portfolios with consistent investment objectives can be attributed to portfolio screening.

In Mid and Large Cap equity strategies, approximately 10%-15% of companies in Boston Trust Walden portfolios are determined to be unsuitable for typical screened portfolios.

In Small/SMID Cap strategies differences are smaller with less than 5% of companies determined to be inappropriate for typical screened portfolios.

The percentage reduction reported (10%) represents the approximate incremental impact of screening relative to ESG integration, which is implemented in all Boston Trust Walden portfolios.

Specify the percentage reduction (+/- 5%)

10 %

Describe any alteration to your investment universe or other effects.

Boston Trust Walden offers fossil fuel free portfolios for clients wanting to exclude fossil fuel companies from their portfolio. Portfolio strategies vary based upon client objectives (e.g. those excluding fossil fuel companies, as well as those including companies offering products or services with positive environmental impacts).

Select which of these effects followed your ESG integration.

12.2. Additional information.[Optional]

As stated previously, ESG integration is an integral component of our assessment of quality, which is the cornerstone of Boston Trust Walden investment approach. Because the analysis of ESG criteria is entirely integrated into securities analysis and portfolio construction, we are not able to account for the separate impact of ESG integration. In mid and large cap strategies, we find that one-half to three-quarters of companies do not satisfy our definition of high quality based on quantitative metrics, and fundamental stock analysis (which includes the analysis of ESG factors) further pares that list. Ultimately, our investable universe consists of a diversified pool of higher financial quality companies with business models we judge to be more sustainable. We believe good ESG performance is an important marker of quality financials and good management.


LEI 13. Examples of ESG issues that affected your investment view / performance

13.1. Provide examples of ESG factors that affected your investment view and/or performance during the reporting year.

ESG factor and explanation

Climate Change

As noted in previous years, climate change continues to be an important factor in our ESG analysis of companies from sectors ranging from consumer discretionary to energy and utilities. Below, we provide several examples of how analysis of climate-related risks and opportunities influenced investment decision making and engagement over the past year. 

 

ESG incorporation strategy applied Screening|Thematic|Integration

Impact on investment decision or performance

  • We seek to avoid investment in electricity and natural gas providers with relatively high exposure to coal-powered electricity generation. In 2019, we reviewed two utilities with similar financial and operating profiles. Both had exposure to coal-fired generating assets. While one company had recently announced a 100% clean energy goal and plans for retiring the bulk of its coal-fired generating fleet, the other company had no GHG reduction commitment and had recently pursued the acquisition of additional coal-fired assets. The former utility was approved for addition to client portfolios, while the later was not.
  • Two consumer discretionary companies involved in the automotive supply chain were reviewed in 2019. Both companies had significant exposure to traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) technologies. The analyst noted that the transition away from ICE technology to new propulsion technologies could be a persistent headwind to growth and profitability and the long-term viability of the business model. While historically of reasonable financial quality, neither company was approved for investment. 
  • Analysts reviewed an industrial company providing energy and water efficient boilers and water heaters. The company specifically noted its high efficiency product offering as a key driver of sales and profitability. The company was approved for investment. 

ESG factor and explanation

Environmental Impact

In 2019, public awareness significantly increased regarding the harmful environmental impact of single use plastics, raising potential questions about the viability of companies providing plastic-based packaging materials. Our review of one such company indicated it had recently joined CE100 Circular Economy Network and was working with customers to increase recyclability of products and incorporate higher quantities of post-consumer recycled resin. This information, in conjunction with continued strong profitability, reasonable growth, and a strong balance sheet, led to a recommendation to continue to hold shares of the company in client portfolios.  

ESG incorporation strategy applied Integration

Impact on investment decision or performance

See ESG factor and explanation above.

ESG factor and explanation

Business ethics 

In 2019, Boston Trust Walden ESG and securities analysts reviewed a pharmaceutical distribution company. Fundamental analysis indicated the company was of above average quality. However, assessment of potentially material ESG factors revealed numerous issues of concern. For example, the company had pleaded guilty to selling cancer drugs in violation of federal rules. Furthermore, our assessment of the potential viability of the business model revealed significant risks including lawsuits alleging complicity in the opioid crisis.

The company was determined to not be appropriate for any clients given the potential materiality of ESG concerns, in addition to failing our values-based assessment process for clients with screens.

ESG incorporation strategy applied Screening|Integration

Impact on investment decision or performance

See ESG factor and explanation above.

ESG factor and explanation

Prohibited product category - environmental impact and animal welfare

Investigative reporting has revealed that "factory farms" are generally associated with significant negative environmental impacts and practices considered inhumane to animals. As such, factory farming is included among our exclusionary criteria for many clients. In 2019, we reviewed a pharmaceutical company that derives a significant portion of its revenue from the sale of products and services to "factory farms." Given the integral part in the factory farming value chain the company plays, we determined the company was not appropriate for clients with comprehensive ESG screening criteria.

 

ESG incorporation strategy applied Screening

Impact on investment decision or performance

See ESG factor and explanation above.

13.2. Additional information.[Optional]


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