The IA Clarington Inhance SRI Funds, sub-advised by responsible investing pioneer Vancity Investment Management Ltd. (VCIM), can help you achieve your wealth-creation goals while meaningfully contributing to a more sustainable future.
VCIM does more than invest in companies with attractive return potential and exceptional environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. Central to the VCIM investment process is a robust program of shareholder engagement designed to ensure that companies held in the Inhance SRI Funds continuously strive to elevate and expand their ESG commitments.
2022/Q1–2023/Q2 Engagement Activities
70 Total engagements
49 Individual companies engaged
25 Specific engagement topics
10 Shareholder resolutions filed
21 Investor statements of support signed
Seven impact areas drive VCIM’s engagement activities. Click on each for a snapshot of the team’s work and download our annual Dialogue to Action report for a comprehensive look at their industry-leading program of ESG advocacy.
Climate, Energy & Just Transition
VCIM is a founding partner of Climate Engagement Canada (CEC), a finance-led initiative that drives dialogue between the financial community and publicly listed Canadian companies to promote a just transition to a net-zero economy.
VCIM took the lead on two investor engagements this year – Canadian Pacific Kansas City Ltd. and West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. VCIM is also a supporting investor on engagements with Nutrien Ltd. and Waste Connections Inc. VCIM is working with these companies to implement governance frameworks that prioritize climate, develop and implement net-zero strategies, set measurable and sector-relevant targets, and enhance emission disclosures.
Government & Disclosure
Economic inequality is a persistent issue in our society, and one of the contributing factors is the growing disparity between executive and employee pay. Public disclosure of the CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio provides a quantifiable way to monitor economic inequality over time and is a first step towards ensuring the pay gap does not continue to widen.
VCIM’s engagement with Scotiabank has led the bank to publish its CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio. Shareholder proposals filed with RBC, CIBC, and TD Bank received 12% support, on average. VCIM will continue to push for other major financial institutions to disclose this important metric.
Biodiversity & Nature
As biodiversity declines, agricultural supply chains are likely to be significantly impacted due to issues such as pollinator loss. Diminished food supply will translate into direct economic harms for companies that rely on agricultural products, highlighting the need for companies to identify and address these risks.
VCIM filed a shareholder proposal with Costco Wholesale Corp. requesting a material biodiversity dependencies and impact assessment report. VCIM secured several commitments in discussions with Costco, including an analysis of select material supply chains and an accompanying disclosure in line with the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures.
Combatting increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a key area of focus for VCIM’s ESG team. AMR occurs when bacteria and other disease-causing microbes develop resistance to previously effective drugs and can lead to infections more commonly known as superbugs. In the U.S. alone, AMR causes 2.8 million illnesses and 35,000 deaths annually.
VCIM is a member of the Investor Action on AMR Initiative and has engaged the pharmaceutical and healthcare companies held in the IA Clarington Inhance SRI Funds to begin quantifying and mitigating the potential business risks posed by AMR.
Financial Resilience & Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Reconciliation (DEIR)
This engagement area shines a light on underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups. One of VCIM’s key areas of focus is environmental justice (EJ), which refers to the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, colour, income, or nationality with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
VCIM filed a shareholder proposal with Waste Connections requesting an EJ audit of its American and Canadian assets. An EJ audit helps a company identify where its operations may be having outsized impacts on communities of colour or low-income communities. Waste Connections’ audit of its U.S. facilities has led to increased engagement with stakeholders in impacted areas, while the Canadian audit, which is focused on Indigenous communities, is still in progress.
Human Capital Management
VCIM believes strongly in the right of employees to freely organize in the pursuit of collective workplace goals. This freedom leads to collaborative partnerships between companies, unions, and workers, resulting in stronger workplaces and positive labour relations.
VCIM joined a campaign organized by the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) where co-signed letters were sent to Amazon.com Inc. and Starbucks Corp. The letters highlighted the value of worker representation to productivity and called on the companies to recognize the fundamental rights of workers to associate freely and bargain collectively.
During 2022/Q1–2023/Q2, VCIM maintained a focus on supply chain due diligence to ensure the companies held in the funds operate in alignment with international human rights guidelines.
VCIM met with representatives of Brookfield Renewable Partners, Boralex Inc., and Cisco Systems Inc. to determine if these companies have conducted risk mapping of their supply chains and to inquire about other initiatives that have been implemented to safeguard against human rights risks. All three companies demonstrated important measures that minimize the risk of forced labour.
VCIM does not invest in companies whose primary line of business includes:
Learn more about the ESG and portfolio management team:
Inhance SRI Funds
Explore the Inhance SRI suite of standalone mutual funds and all-in-one portfolios:
- IA Clarington Inhance Bond SRI Fund
- IA Clarington Inhance Monthly Income SRI Fund
- IA Clarington Inhance Canadian Equity SRI Class
- IA Clarington Inhance Global Equity SRI Class
- NewIA Clarington Inhance Global Small Cap SRI Fund
All-in-one portfolio solutions
Read our suite of brochures to learn more about VCIM’s approach to responsible investing: