BMO Asset Management focussed the highest proportion of its engagement activities on climate action in 2017, according to an analysis of its stewardship activities published this week.
The investment management arm of Bank of Montreal conducted an analysis of its engagement activity of last year in a new report, breaking them down into the same category brackets as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
It found that the highest proportion of activity related to climate change (24%), with other engagement activities “strongly” linked to responsible production and consumption (11%), gender equality (11%) and clean water and sanitation (10%).
In a statement, Richard Wilson, chief executive officer and CIO at BMO Global Asset Management, said fund firms now had a responsibility to do more than just deliver quarterly financial returns.
He said: “It is also, I believe, about being a responsible member of the investor community, and supporting the development of a sustainable global economy – which, ultimately, will underpin our own and our clients’ long-term prosperity and security.”
The company also tracked engagement activity that didn’t neatly fall within in one SDG category, but was still relevant to the overall ESG picture. The majority of these were related to corporate governance.
“In our mapping work, we concluded that corporate governance engagement does not have a link to
any single goal,” the company said in the report. “Rather, we see good governance and board-level oversight as a foundation for the achievement of all 17 Goals, with well-governed companies better able to manage sustainability risks and opportunities.”
BMO said it has now further developed its methodology to keep track of engagement trends in the coming years, with 169 SDG targets now tagged to its engagement sub-themes.