Axa pushes firms to act on sustainability issues
Following key engagement milestones and enhanced shareholder engagement rules in 2021, AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) is increasing pressure on companies to take meaningful action on climate, biodiversity, and social issues.
AXA IM is implementing a tightened voting policy and a 'three strikes and you're out' escalation strategy to climate laggards in 2022, besides the expanded oil and gas policy and stricter biodiversity engagement programme established in 2021.
These new policies indicate AXA IM's continued commitment to using engagement to exert impact. According to the company's most recent Stewardship Report, in 2021, it worked with 245 entities in 29 countries on the topics it believes are most important for the planet, its population, and investors.
AXA IM's largest area of engagement (33 per cent) was climate change. But it also saw a significant increase in corporate governance-related engagements (21 per cent) compared to 2020 levels (16 per cent), reflecting the trend toward the integration of ESG at the strategy level and across business activity, with many of these meetings also addressing E and S issues. Human capital (20%) and resources and ecosystems (14%) were also popular topics of discussion.
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Marco Morelli, Executive Chairman at AXA IM, said:
“Stewardship is one of the main tools we have to effect change, and engagement is at the forefront of our approach as a leading responsible investor. 2021 was a pivotal year during which we engaged meaningfully with hundreds of companies on a range of critical issues, but also introduced tougher policies designed to set clear red lines for issuers acting too slowly or without credible plans to achieve net-zero by 2050. Already this year in 2022, we have continued this approach with our new voting policy, which encourages boards to adopt clear ESG commitments and targets, and the introduction of our ‘three strikes and you’re out’ escalation policy for climate laggards.”
“2022 is another milestone year with COP27 in November and we will continue to play a full part in the financial industry’s efforts to move the real economy towards decarbonisation,” he added.
Source: AXA Investment Managers