ESG Annual Report 2020
Our 2020 ESG Annual Report details our comprehensive ESG investment integration, company engagement, and proxy voting activities for the year. The report also delves into a number of key themes that shaped the ESG agenda in 2020, including the coronavirus pandemic, diversity and inclusion and climate regulation and government policy. The pandemic has served to accelerate existing environmental and social trends ‐ acting as a new catalyst for considering ESG factors in the investment process. Meanwhile, issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion were amplified following a global wave of protests and activism against systemic racial inequality. On the climate front, strong momentum to close the gap between climate science and policy was made in 2020 – a trend we expect to continue through 2021. The focus on how companies are working to mitigate the risks to their activities is only set to intensify, and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) and regulatory efforts will bring the issue further into the spotlight.
Our ESG Integration Approach
Environmental, Social, and Governance factors comprise a broad spectrum of considerations—positive and negative—that our investment analysts, supported by two groups of internal investment specialists: our Responsible Investment and Corporate Governance teams, consider in the context of any company, industry, or region of the world. Our approach is driven by the following principles:
Integration of Environmental and Social Factors
Integration of environmental and social factors into our investment process starts with the initial research at the inception of an investment idea and continues through the life of the investment. As identifying the potential impact of these factors can be a more subjective process than traditional financial analysis, each of our investors defines a potential investment’s ESG-related risk and reward based on its industry, geography, and company dynamics.
Our research analysts work closely with our in-house ESG specialists to determine which factors will be most material to the underlying fundamentals of a particular investment.
Our perspective on shareholder activism
The purpose of this statement is to share our philosophy and policies on shareholder activism with our clients, portfolio companies, activist investors, and other market participants.
Engaging with portfolio companies in a variety of ways.
Assessing a broad range of investment concerns (including environmental and social issues) is integral to our investment process. Based on this view, our interactions with issuers of corporate securities are driven by portfolio management and supported by the expertise of our industry-focused analysts and our in-house specialists in corporate governance and sustainability.
Our priorities in these efforts are tightly connected to our investment views on a company, so we generally conduct our company-level engagement activities privately. In contrast, we tend to collaborate with other shareholders on policy-level concerns, such as advocating with regulators for better disclosure or the protection of shareholder rights.
- Who represents shareholders on a company’s Board?
- What drives the executive incentive program?
- How robust are shareholders’ rights at the company?
- How is the company managing its environmental risks,human resources, facilities, stakeholder relations, and long-term access to critical resources?
Our approach to proxy voting
Proxy voting is a critical component of our approach to corporate
governance. We offer our clients a high degree of transparency
related to the votes we cast on their behalf.
We maintain regular dialogue with the managements of issuers represented across our portfolios.
Where we find areas of concern, we make those concerns known to them.
Two Primary Levels of Engagement
After many years of dialogue with management and Board members of the companies in our clients’
portfolios, T. Rowe Price’s practice has focused primarily on two distinct levels of interplay.
High number of brief interactions.
Fewer resources devoted to each encounter.
Low number of intensive, often multiyear activities.
More resources devoted to each action.
As a global investment management firm, we recognize the influence we have on social and environmental issues through our investment portfolios.
The central mission of our company is to help our clients reach their long-term financial goals through a thoughtful, disciplined approach to managing investments. Consistent with that mission, we have an obligation to understand the long-term sustainability of a company’s business model and the factors that could cause it to change. We do this by incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into our investment process.
Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) signatory since 20101
2020 Assessment Report
for T. Rowe Price2 : A+
1Launched in 2006, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are a set of voluntary best practice standards that asset owners and asset managers pledge to uphold in order to incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues into their investment processes.