Bring Purpose to Your Portfolio

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 future that’s more sustainable, inclusive and just for us all.

Actively engaged for a better future

2020/Q1 2021 Engagement Activities

42 Companies engaged

9 Shareholder resolutions filed

10 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advanced

13 Investor statements of support, alliances or initiatives joined

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.

Below are six recent examples of VCIM’s engagement activities. You can learn more about these examples and the team’s other engagement priorities by downloading the annual Dialogue to Action report.

Increasing Supply Chain Transparency to Protect Human Rights: Uyghur Repression and Forced Labour

The Uyghurs, an ethnic Turkic and religious minority Muslim group from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwestern China, have been subjected to severe state-sponsored oppression for several decades, including forced labour that has tainted the global supply chain across multiple sectors. VCIM, along with 55 other organizations, is a signatory to the Investor Alliance of Human Rights (IAHR), as well as Know The Chain (KTC). This investor group is engaging 52 companies that are potentially exposed to forced labour in their supply chains. VCIM’s engagement on human rights in XUAR is ongoing. VCIM is engaging Cisco, Seagate Technology, Adidas, Inditex, Nike, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Sony and Siemens Gamesa on this issue, and we plan to expand to other companies in the upcoming year.

Banning Project Finance for Oil & Gas Drilling

The Arctic is warming at double the rate of the rest of the globe. As a result, this region is expected to face severe ecological disruptions. There has long been an appetite for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. VCIM has been particularly concerned about the financing of Arctic exploration projects, as the portfolio holds banks that are exposed to this issue. Financial institutions funding these projects are exposed to material environmental, reputational and stranded asset risks. VCIM filed shareholder resolutions with Scotiabank and TD that asked their boards to review the feasibility of a moratorium on Arctic oil and gas financing.

Environmental Justice: Addressing Inequities in Pollution Exposure

The Environmental Justice movement crystalized in the 1980s in response to the unequal burden of adverse health and environmental impacts faced by communities of colour. VCIM is working with the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) to engage chemical companies across the S&P 500 and within the Funds. VCIM has requested that Nutrien, Johnson Matthey, Cascades, CCL Industries, Royal DSM and Vulcan Materials provide increased disclosures on life cycle impacts of substances used to produce or contained in their products; a plan for development towards safer chemicals and processes; and disaster preparedness plans for protecting communities living near manufacturing facilities. We are encouraging companies to raise the issue of Environmental Justice at the board level and ensure regular board oversight and management of this risk.

The Finance for Biodiversity Pledge: Taking Action on the Biodiversity Crisis

VCIM has long recognized biodiversity loss as a major threat to the planet. We have previously engaged with companies held in the Funds on issues such as plastic pollution, neonicotinoids (insecticides that harm pollinators and other beneficial insects and microbes), and the use of glyphosates, more commonly known as Round-Up. To accelerate VCIM’s work on biodiversity-related risks, we signed the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge prior to its launch in September 2020. The Pledge brings together leading financial institutions dedicated to the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems through targeted financing, investments and engagement. VCIM is working with other Pledge members to devise broad engagement strategies that will target companies with the largest impacts on biodiversity.

Access to Medicine

Access to affordable healthcare and medicine is essential to human progress and development. The pandemic has revealed how vital it is to ensure rapid worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. VCIM is a signatory to the Access to Medicine Foundation (ATMF), a non-profit organization that helps pharmaceutical companies do more for people living in impoverished countries. VCIM joined with several investors to encourage pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to ensure that employees are protected, supply chains are maintained, and intellectual property is shared to accelerate drug development and availability. We engaged with Novo Nordisk, Gilead Sciences, Sanofi and CVS Health throughout 2020 and early 2021.

Protecting Human Rights in Operations: Western Sahara and the Saharawi People

Western Sahara is a disputed region in northwestern Africa. Morocco claims the region was part of Morocco prior to Spanish colonization, while the Polisario Front, which represents the indigenous Saharawi population, claims the region should be a separate sovereign state. A civil war between the two groups that ended in 1991 has left many Saharawis displaced. VCIM engaged Siemens Gamesa to discuss the impact of its Western Sahara operations on the human rights of the Saharawi people. VCIM asked Siemens Gamesa to publicly disclose its human rights assessments for operations in Western Sahara that it had commissioned in conjunction with other project partners. We encouraged Siemens Gamesa to conduct ongoing evaluations, considering the ongoing human rights risk and complicated geopolitical nature of the issue.

VCIM does not invest in companies whose primary line of business includes:

  • Fossil fuels

  • Tobacco

  • Nuclear power

  • Military weapons

  • Adult entertainment

  • Gaming

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