We strive to be an active owner and constructive investor towards both companies and asset managers. The purpose of our exercise of active ownership is to influence business conduct, strategies, and development. We do this through dialogue, support of investor statements and voting at general meetings of shareholders to promote the sustainable development agenda.
We expect companies to manage their environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, ensure responsible business conduct in accordance with international principles and standards, and ensure they benefit society as a whole and in the long term. It is on the basis of international principles that we exercise active ownership such as engaging in dialogue with portfolio companies and voting at general meetings. We support greater transparency and take an active stance on ESG risks and, for the climate in particular, active ownership is essential to our own goal of having a carbon-neutral investment portfolio by 2050, thereby meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement to keep the global temperature increase well below 2 degrees and preferably 1.5 degrees.
For more information on our approach to active ownership, see our annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
We engage in dialogue
If our monitoring reveals irresponsible conduct on the part of the companies that is contrary to the international principles and guidelines we want them to follow, we engage in dialogue with them. The aim of the dialogue is to contribute to influencing the relevant company to prevent and/or mitigate the irresponsible conduct that has taken place.
The more capital an investor has invested in a company, the greater bearing an appeal to the company can have on the management of the company. To add weight to our voice, we have decided to work with other institutional investors when engaging in dialogue with the companies we have invested in. We use an internationally renowned partner, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc (ISS), to systematically carry out the dialogues with companies in our investment portfolio that exhibit irresponsible business conduct. The list of companies with which we are in dialogue can be found on our website here (in Danish).
In addition, there are areas where we, as a large Danish investor, prefer to exercise active ownership ourselves or through participation in initiatives. This includes our work to reduce our financed carbon emissions, as well as other selected issues where we seek improvements in relation to sustainability without this necessarily involving a breach of international principles and guidelines. We also undertake our own engagement activities with other investors through participation in investor initiatives, campaigns and by signing investor statements calling on both companies and governments to act in relation to particular areas of concern.
We also engage in dialogue with the fund managers who invest on our behalf, which means on your behalf as well, and we do this, for example, to obtain input for our assessment of companies from a sustainability perspective.
Voting at the general meetings of companies we invest in is a key element in our exercise of active ownership.
The general meeting is the supreme authority of companies, and is where they formally report to their owners, the investors. It is also at the general meeting that the owners can express their concerns or continued support for the company’s management.
At the general meeting, we make our opinion known on whether the structure and strategy of the companies underpin sustainable value creation in a way that we consider appropriate or not. We take a stand on topics such as appropriate remuneration policies, management composition, strategies and ambitions, compliance with set targets and other topics such as the implementation of risk systems, as well as capital structure and dividend payments.
At general meetings we vote as co-owners of many companies in many parts of the world. On the voting portal on our website you can see where and how we have voted:
Working with other investors
We see great value in working with other investors to achieve a common goal. When companies are approached by many investors representing an even larger share of ownership, we increase the likelihood of attention and constructive dialogue with those companies.
We are a member of several initiatives such as Climate Action 100+, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), United Nations Principles for Responsible Investments (UN PRI), CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), Paris Aligned Investments Initiative (PAII) and Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The initiatives contribute to our goals within sustainability and our focus areas regarding active ownership.