A commitment to sustainability

What sets us apart?

Our approach to sustainability combines a macro perspective on ESG risks, opportunities, and imperatives with the depth of local market expertise. As both an asset manager and owner/operator, we have a unique perspective on navigating sustainability's systemic challenges and opportunities. These facets of our identity help us develop and synthesize innovative global frameworks for sustainability analysis and asset management that work in the local context.

  • Top scores from the Principles
    for Responsible Investment (PRI)

    A+

    For strategy and governance

    For equity integration

    For SSA fixed income (sovereign, supranational, and agency debt)

  • Active Ownership

    940

    Engagement interactions globally in 2019 – up from 276 in 2018 (across public markets)

  • Climate action

    Named to PRI Leaders’ Group 2020 for excellence in climate reporting

    In 2020, we published our first climate-related financial disclosure report (TCFD)

    Invited by the Japanese government to join the TCFD consortium—the world’s first-ever summit on the implementation of the TCFD 

  • Global collaboration

    Founding member of Climate Action 100+

    Joined the SASB’s Investor Advisory Group

    Joined the 30% Club Canadian Investor Group

    Joined the Responsible Investment Association

    Joined the World Business Council for Sustainable  Development (WBCSD)  

  • Award winning team

    Winner of 2019 SDG Canadian leadership awards from the Global Compact Canadian Network

    Public markets ESG team won “Best ESG Team: North America” award from Capital Finance International — 2019 and 2020

Our approach

Sustainability as standard in every strategy¹

ESG integration owned and applied by every investment team1

We believe that active management and sustainable investing go hand in hand. As active managers, we’re able to research and strategically allocate capital to the companies and issuers that we believe are most resilient to ESG risks and/or best positioned to take advantage of ESG opportunities.

We believe that ESG risks contribute to an investment’s overall risk and return profile and that managing those risks and harnessing the opportunities can lead to positive returns for investors over time.

We actively engage with the companies in which we invest to assess their resiliency to sustainability risks and their ability to adapt to future opportunities. 

  • ESG due diligence

    Through the due diligence process, informing decisions about which companies to buy, hold or sell.

  • ESG risk monitoring

    Through ongoing risk monitoring at the company and portfolio levels.

  • Active ownership

    Through active ownership, informing engagement and proxy voting strategies.

Third party partners 

We carry out extensive research and due diligence on the sustainability practices of third party managers to be able to offer you a range of investing solutions from leading investment managers

Active ownership

Engaging with the companies in which we invest and exercising voting rights on behalf of our clients are at the center of our approach to sustainable investing.

Engagement

We engage with publicly traded companies worldwide, and we often engage with a company on more than one ESG issue. Through this practice, we learn about how our investee companies are managing sustainability risks—and we encourage them to address issues we've identified that may affect their long-term value creation potential.

In 2019 we engaged in a broad range of environmental, social, and governance issues.

Engagement factor focus, FY 2019

We often engage with a company on more than one ESG issue in a given engagement interaction. These engagements can be purely to learn about firm management of sustainability risks or to encourage them to address a material issue we’ve identified that may affect value over the long term.

Top 10 engagement topics²

E, S, G

Number of engagements

Board structure and practices

G

248

Shareholder rights

G

196

Market opportunity: environmental business/sustainable finance

E

115

Market opportunities

G

92

Customer preference and shift

S

86

Other governance topics

G

79

Other social topics

S

62

Climate change vulnerability

E

55

Other environmental topics

E

47

Greenhouse gasses

E

41

Voting

Alongside engagement, we see proxy voting as a key tool to influence companies to adopt sustainable business practices that promote stable, long-term growth and reduce sustainability risks over time. In addition, we frequently support shareholder proposals that address material ESG risks pertaining to a given issuer.

Shareholder proposals supported

In 2019, our support for shareholder proposals was particularly evident in socially focused proposals touching on human rights, lobbying payments and policy, and employment diversity.

We frequently support shareholder proposals that address material ESG risks pertaining to a given issuer, and we evaluate each proposal on its merits. Some of the factors we consider are the magnitude of the opportunity or risk identified, current practices and disclosure at the firm, legislative or regulatory action on the matter, and the cost of implementation on the business. In 2019, our support for such proposals was wide ranging and particularly evident in socially focused proposals touching on human rights, lobbying payments and policy, and employment diversity.

1 Investments managed by Manulife Investment Management

Manulife Investment Management, as of December 31, 2019. Table reflects the largest single-factor topics. ESG due diligence and disclosure, which crosses all factor categories, was the most common engagement topic, numbering 275 engagements. 

What is sustainable investing?

Sustainable Investing refers to the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the selection and management of investments. By systematically integrating these factors across every stage of the investment process, sustainable investing seeks to improve a portfolio’s risk-adjusted return potential.

A wide range of factors that can affect investment returns

  • Environmental

    How a company's operations affect the natural environment, and how the natural environment affects the company.

    • Climate change and carbon emission
    • Air and water pollution
    • Biodiversity
    • Energy efficiency
    • Deforestation
    • Waste management
    • Water scarcity
  • Social

    The relationship between a company and its employees, suppliers, and communities.

    • Customer satisfaction
    • Data protection and privacy
    • Gender and diversity
    • Community relations
    • Employee engagement
    • Human rights
    • Labour standards
  • Governance

    The structures or systems a company has put in place to ensure effective direction and control.

    • Board composition
    • Executive compensation
    • Audit committee structure
    • Bribery and corruption
    • Lobbyings
    • Political contributions
    • Whistle-blower schemes

Sustainable investing: why now? 

The rise of sustainable investing has been well documented and shows no sign of slowing down. As of 2018, over $30 trillion¹ was invested globally in sustainable and responsible strategies, while in Canada over half of professionally invested money was allocated to these types of strategies. While it began as a specialist approach, sustainable investing is now a powerful and enduring megatrend that’s transforming how people and institutions are investing around the globe.

Sustainable investing by the numbers

  • Up 42%

    Assets in Canada managed with at least one RI strategy 2016-20182

  • 51%

    Of professionally managed assets in Canada is in responsible investments2

  • 79%

    Of surveyed investors in Canada want their financial advisors to inform them of sustainable investing options3

1 2018 Global Sustainable Investment Review – Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. 22019 RIA investor opinion survey. 2 Global sustainable investment alliance, 2018 global sustainable investment review. 3 2019 RIA investor opinion survey.  

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