In 2021, we voted at nearly 21,000 meetings on over 190,000 management and shareholder proposals.
Votes on Management Resolutions by Category
Votes on Shareholder Proposals by Category
We believe that companies that adopt robust, progressive governance and sustainability practices will be better positioned to generate long-term value and manage risk. As near-perpetual holders of the constituents of the world’s primary indices, the informed exercise of voting rights, coupled with targeted and value-driven engagement, is the most effective mechanism of creating value for our clients. Accordingly, our stewardship program proactively identifies companies for engagement and voting in order to mitigate ESG risks in our portfolios.
To measure and demonstrate impact, we monitor and follow up with companies that we previously engaged with and evaluate their responsiveness to our feedback. This requires a long-term, multi-year approach to stewardship, which we believe is necessary and reflects the anticipated long-term nature of our investments into these companies.
In 2021, we voted in over 20,000 meetings and engaged with over 2,400 companies. In all, our engagement activities encompassed companies representing 73% of our 2021 equity AUM.
We held 878 comprehensive engagements based on in person meetings or via conference calls. We identify target companies for engagement through multiple methods, including proprietary ESG screens and the sector and thematic priorities identified in our annual stewardship objectives.
During the year, we engaged with 280 companies across multiple industries to understand their approaches to mitigating and managing the physical and transitional impacts of climate change. This is an 89% increase in our climate-related engagements compared to 2020.
Our stewardship activities are designed to maximize impact. We use our vote and voice to influence companies on long-term governance and sustainability issues across geographical regions. We successfully worked with several of our investee companies to enhance their governance, compensation, and/or sustainability practices.
Our Asset Stewardship Team has developed our Issuer Engagement Protocol to increase the transparency of our engagement philosophy, approach and processes. This Protocol is designed to communicate the objectives of our engagement activities and to facilitate a better understanding of our preferred terms of engagement with our
To better monitor our engagement success, we are in the process of developing additional stewardship statistics and key performance indicators that we can track progress against in order to monitor the impact of our engagement process more effectively.
In 2021, we believed it was more urgent than ever before to respond to growing climate risk. The latest UN IPCC report stressed the need for rapid, large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the “unequivocal” science behind climate change. Further, the pandemic highlighted the impact of systemic risks on global financial markets and reaffirmed the importance of prioritising such threats, including climate change, via our stewardship program. With this, we significantly increased our climate engagements in 2021 to 254, almost double that of 2020.
We continue to lead the market with our Fearless Girl campaign and action behind gender diversity on corporate boards. Since the launch of our campaign in 2017, 948 companies (more than 60%) of the 1,548 companies we called on have added at least one woman director.* In 2021, we further increased our focus on social equity, instituting new guidance on Racial and Ethnic Diversity Disclosure and helping to drive improved disclosure on the racial and ethnic composition of boards.
During the 2021 proxy season, we started taking action against board members at companies in the S&P 500, FTSE 350, ASX 100, TOPIX 100, DAX30, and CAC 40 indices that were laggards based on their R-Factor scores and could not articulate how they planned to improve their score. R-Factor is our proprietary ESG scoring system that measures the performance of a company’s business operations andgovernance as it relates to financially material and industry-specific ESG risk factors.
* State Street Global Advisors Asset Stewardship Team, as of February 2022.
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The returns on a portfolio of securities which exclude companies that do not meet the portfolio's specified ESG criteria may trail the returns on a portfolio of securities which include such companies. A portfolio's ESG criteria may result in the portfolio investing in industry sectors or securities which underperform the market as a whole.
Responsible-Factor (R Factor) scoring is designed by State Street to reflect certain ESG characteristics and does not represent investment performance. Results generated out of the scoring model is based on sustainability and corporate governance dimensions of a scored entity.
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