April 3, 2020

Investors realize that their dollars can do more than grow wealth. They can use their investments to drive positive change in the companies they invest in, and in the world. NEI has long believed in the power of investing to create change. We actively pursue that belief through corporate engagement.

There is no question that consumers want to do more with their purchases than simply acquire products and services. They want their money to make a difference on some of the key issues of our times. The modern consumer is driven by purpose and is seeking empowerment for their desires. And that includes consumers of investment products.

NEI believes the best way to make positive change is to actively engage with the companies we own. Each year we issue our ‘Focus List’ of planned company engagements – an agenda for change that we are seeking to implement through our corporate engagement program.

In 2020, we will build our company engagements around five distinct themes:

  1. Good governance: an overarching theme across all engagements
  2. Energy transition: Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, occupying centre stage in our 2020 engagements
  3. Responsible consumption: As a founding member of the Circular Economy Leadership Coalition (CELC), we will work with companies and investors to create needed momentum around responsible consumption practices
  4. Human rights: Respect for human rights is foundational to our commitment to responsible investment
  5. Health and well being: We work to ensure corporate actions drive toward meeting the goal of creating equal opportunities for people to live a healthy and fulfilling life

Our engagement work is predicated on the philosophy that the most effective way to deliver change for investors who want their money to do more is through investing in companies and engaging in dialogue with their respective management teams. The goal is to improve their performance on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. This approach is fundamentally different from asset managers who may instead prefer divestment as a change strategy – essentially leaving these companies without the capital support and the consultative expertise they would otherwise need to implement change.

Their approach relies on expedience and polarization. Ours requires digging in on the issues that matter to investors, and working collaboratively with the companies they own (through their investments in our funds) to solve them.

It might take more effort, but our decades-long track record of affecting change speaks for itself. For investors who want their money to do more, active engagement makes all the difference.

We’ll be exploring our engagement themes in more detail in future blogs. For now, why not read our 2020 Focus List of planned company engagements?.