On May 28th, BlackRock and Ceres jointly published a 68-page guide to corporate engagement aimed at US investors. As you would expect from the world’s largest asset manager and a not-for-profit with a 25-year history of action on corporate sustainability, the guide covers a lot of ground, but is thoughtfully organized and assembled.
The guide encompasses 30-plus articles of one to two pages, each written by an expert practitioner. The authors represent a range of leading asset owners and investment managers who are active in the areas they write about. The first half of the guide covers specific strategies for engagement with corporations, but also includes individual articles on private equity and fixed income (credit). Those are followed by a look at collaborative (multi-stakeholder) engagement, guidance on engaging in four other countries, questions to ask by industry sector and a “beyond engagement” section.
The “beyond engagement” section is particularly interesting, as it brings attention to several important trends in sustainable investing that are not nearly given enough attention when the topic of “engagement” is raised – public policy, standards, fiduciary duty and legal considerations. Each of those is a large area of work and research in itself, but it’s a valuable service to put them into perspective in a guide to engagement.
21st Century Engagement: Investor Strategies for Incorporating ESG Considerations into Corporate Interactions is available as a PDF here on Ceres’s web site.