Climate change is a top priority when engaging with companies

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As an active asset manager with assets managed under sustainability criteria of around 206 billion euros, AllianzGI takes its fiduciary responsibility towards customers very seriously. The Stewardship Report 2020 provides a summary and detailed analysis of AllianzGI’s involvement with companies and the exercise of voting rights (so-called proxy voting).

Matt Christensen, Global Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing, comments: “As a result of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation SFDR, we see a strong trend towards sustainable investing. In order for the term ‘sustainable’ to be more than just a buzzword and to fill it with life, investors need to exert their influence. You need to get companies to bring about the real-world change that is necessary and increasingly demanded by our customers. Commitment enables us to gain a deep understanding of the companies in which we invest and to enter into an ongoing dialogue with them. In order to maximize our influence, we take a global approach to engagement and proxy voting. “

Engagement priorities 2021

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing our planet. As a member of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, AllianzGI is committed to encouraging and supporting companies to incorporate climate change considerations into their strategic decision-making process. In 2021, AllianzGI’s activities will focus on assessing climate risks. The focus is on examining how companies measure and manage climate risks and how they convert their strategy, their operations and their product pipelines in a climate-friendly manner. Further topics are the introduction of scientifically based goals and the disclosure of climate and water-related key performance indicators (KPIs).

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In addition, AllianzGI implements the new “Climate Engagement with Outcome” approach in a number of funds. As part of this approach, the fund managers actively deal with the ten largest absolute CO2 emitters in their portfolios (Scope 1 and 2) on climate issues. If issuers do not respond to inquiries or show no improvement efforts on the respective climate path, a disinvestment will be considered as part of an escalation process.

In addition to ESG issues such as climate and the environment, AllianzGI’s critical and constructive dialogue with companies in 2021 will focus on the following topics: Covid-19-related risks and challenges, social risks and the promotion of strong institutions through good corporate governance. For Covid-19-related issues, AllianzGI looks beyond the financial and strategic implications of the crisis. In particular, the remuneration proposals are being critically reviewed for all those companies that have received significant state aid, have made significant headcount reductions or cut dividends as a result of the pandemic without the supervisory authorities having specified the latter.

Stewardship-Report 2020

In the Stewardship Report 2020, AllianzGI reports comprehensively on last year’s engagement activities and the exercise of voting rights (proxy voting). Last year, AllianzGI was involved in 224 companies in 29 markets around the world and repeatedly sought dialogue with a number of companies. A total of 491 topics were covered in 303 engagement initiatives. Around 60 percent of the engagements related to questions of corporate governance, business conduct and transparency. One fifth of the engagements related to environmental risks and impacts, around 10 percent to social issues.

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Details on the voting behavior of AllianzGI at general meetings (AGM) in 2020 have already been announced in advance. Overall, AllianzGI voted on more than 10,000 AGMs on more than 100,000 management and shareholder proposals worldwide. AllianzGI voted against or abstained from at least one item on the agenda in 72 percent of all meetings; a total of 23 percent of all proposals worldwide were rejected.

Dr. Antje Stobbe, Head of Stewardship, explains: “Voting at annual general meetings is the most visible to the outside world and undoubtedly an important part of our approach. However, it is by no means the only way we communicate our views to the companies in which we invest. Rather, we seek constructive, ongoing dialogue in order to express our expectations, express concerns and – where necessary – initiate improvements. “

Sustainability report and TCFD report

In addition to the stewardship report, AllianzGI also presented the sustainability report and the TCFD report today. The Sustainability Report 2020 presents the sustainable investment offer and the company’s ambitions as a sustainable investor and company that operates sustainably. And the TCFD Report 2020, published for the first time, reports on the progress made by AllianzGI in implementing the TCFD recommendations on the basis of the framework for standardized corporate climate reporting presented by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). It also offers customers transparency about in-house considerations on climate change. AllianzGI has been an official supporter of the TCFD recommendations since 2019 and has started implementing them. This has laid a strong foundation for the house’s climate change strategy in recent years.

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