Sustainable Investing: A Year In Review
Wespath has been recognized as a world leader in sustainable investment for many years. In 2019, we sought to further underscore our industry leadership by evolving our investment and engagement work as we identified new ways to approach a number of important long-term sustainability issues. Here are highlights of our 2019 work related to these themes.
We are members of the Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative (MIDI), an investor network representing over $870 billion in assets that jointly asks the companies in which we invest to adopt board diversity best practices. In 2019, our work with MIDI resulted in six companies adding a diverse candidate to their board of directors.
Human rights were the focus of last year’s engagement with an online travel services company, Booking Holdings. We had concerns about the risk presented by the company’s properties located in global "conflict areas." We successfully requested a risk assessment regarding these properties and will continue the dialogue on our human rights concerns.
As the world continued its transition to a low-carbon economy, we expanded our "Transition Ready" investment framework. In October, Wespath and its subsidiaries committed a combined $300 million to new Transition Ready strategies, bringing the total investments in these strategies to over $1 billion. As a reminder, this strategy tilts its investments toward companies best positioned for the transition to a low-carbon future.
Our aim to promote corporate governance best practices pointed us toward the pharmaceutical industry in 2019. We worked alongside the Investors for Opioid Accountability to ask opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers to adopt policies intended to help curtail the country’s opioid crisis.
2019 was another hallmark year for our sustainable investing activities, and we look forward to carrying that momentum into 2020—and beyond.