At a time when knowledge is recognized as an increasingly important driver of success and when income inequality is creating systemic risks in markets, investors need better information from companies on how they are investing in and managing their “most valuable assets” – their workers.
As companies issue new proxy circulars in time for their annual general meetings, SHARE is closely watching to see whether corporate Canada has improved its dubious record on board diversity. Have admonishments from securities regulators and shareholders pushed more companies to adopt board diversity policies and goals? More importantly, will we see more female candidates for board seats at 2016 AGMs?
There are intriguing signs that pension funds are becoming more ambitious and more holistic in their thinking about responsible investment (RI). A few weeks ago the two of us ran a masterclass session on responsible investment for trustees at the British Columbia Pension Forum – the annual event that SHARE has been organizing now for 13 years.
With the recent signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Canada has committed to limiting the increase in global average temperatures below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C. The years ahead promise physical, regulatory, financial and reputational risks for companies and investors related to climate change. Successful firms and investors will have to adjust to thinking of the long-term sustainability of their operations and how to transition to a lower carbon economy.
Corporate boards that include diverse members are widely viewed by shareholders as enhancing decision-making capacity, lending a wider variety of perspectives and experiences to crucial decisions. Despite this conviction, Canada’s corporate boardrooms have proven slow to embrace diversity.
Water scarcity is an urgent global issue being exacerbated by climate change and a growing population. By 2030, the world will face a 40% deficit in water supply under business-as-usual scenario predictions.
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SHARE is excited to launch its Valuing Decent Work project, which is mobilizing Canadian investors to advocate for robust decent work policies and practices by educating investors, corporate boards and other stakeholders on the importance of decent work for company performance and value creation.
Investors globally are increasingly concerned with the investment risks associated with climate change and are starting to take steps to understand and address those risks. Investors looking to green their portfolios and contribute to the shift to a low carbon economy, however, may be overlooking hidden risks and opportunities.