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How we've updated our Engagement Blueprint

In 2022, we released our inaugural Engagement Blueprint, setting out our ambitions and approach to active ownership at Schroders. The Blueprint lays out our long-term expectations of companies across six thematic areas. It aims to bring transparency to our investee companies and our clients around our expectations, while also giving our internal investment teams guidance for their engagements on the most material issues.

We are proud that the Engagement Blueprint was awarded ESG Engagement Initiative of the Year at Environmental Finance’s Sustainable Investment Awards 2022.

Sustainability is a complex and multi-faceted topic. It is also ever-changing, whether that be through new research, expanding data availability, regulation or government action. In this landscape, we cannot stand still and so have committed to update our Blueprint on an annual basis.

We will continue to review our priorities and expectations as our understanding of the issues and market best practice evolves to ensure we are pushing for change in the most effective way.

In summary, the main changes to the Blueprint for 2023 are:

  1. A greater focus on the Just Transition

In an effort to better describe how we address the social implications of the net zero transition, we have added a section on the Just Transition. This sub-theme links to the other relevant themes (human rights, human capital management and diversity and inclusion).

  1. Expanding our natural capital and biodiversity expectations

Schroders is a member of the Natural Capital Investment Alliance and became signatories to the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge in 2022. Our Biodiversity and Natural Capital Position Statement sets out our approach to the investments we manage and our own operations when it comes to nature and biodiversity.

In this edition of the Blueprint we have expanded our expectations of companies, with a particular focus on deforestation. This reflects our proprietary research, evolving market guidance and our firm-wide commitment to this topic.

  1. Our Shareholder Resolution Framework

Shareholder resolutions have seen a growing focus in recent years and we consider them an important tool for expressing our views and expectations to investee companies, especially for areas not covered in standard AGM votes. In this Blueprint we have outlined how we analyse shareholder resolutions in practice around four questions:

  • Is the resolution aligned with our Blueprint?
  • Is the resolution the best way to address the issue
  • Does the resolution add value to what the company is already doing?
  • Does the resolution have the potential to cause unintended consequences?
  • Read more: Shareholder resolutions: prepared to disagree
  1. Impact-focused engagements

In September 2022, Schroders became signatories to the Operating Principles for Impact Management (OPIM). Active ownership is an important element to delivering impact, particularly in public markets. In this edition of the Blueprint we have outlined our approach to impact-driven engagements.

The evolution of our Blueprint reflects the evolving landscape and feedback from investors and clients. Looking ahead, we will continue to review and evolve our expectations to ensure we are using our influence to push for progress on the most material risks and opportunities faced across our clients’ portfolios.