Building partnerships and portfolios | Mackenzie Investments

Building partnerships and portfolios

Building partnerships and portfolios

Meredith Block, Head ESG analyst at Rockefeller, explains how they engage with holdings to help them become best-in-class performers.

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MEREDITH BLOCK: In some cases, we will work with a company that's maybe a medium performer, on certain ESG issues, but because of our strong relationship with the company and because of the productive dialogues we've had, we know that we can push them to be better.  And that delta between being a medium performer and best in class is where we feel we derive our impact.

These are circumstances where even though a company maybe doesn't disclose a lot of ESG information to the public, they've shown a willingness to work with us to either improve those disclosures or improve the very practices themselves.

In these situations, it can actually make or break an investment decision for us because we want to know that we'll be able to use our voice as a shareholder to actually effect change within the company's, within the portfolio.

Because we're invested in companies across all sectors, our engagement topics can range from anything from how a company views itself within the context of climate change to how it's working on, say, anti-harassment and gender-based discrimination issues within its company.

In the last few months, we've done a lot of work engaging almost all of our holdings on harassment and gender-based discrimination within the workplace.  We found that this is an issue that affects all companies and all sectors.  So whether or not a company has actually had an incident, it's important for us to understand how a company manages this issue within its processes.

Another issue we work on across many of our holdings in virtually every sector is climate change.  Climate change, we feel, is a systemic risk to financial markets so it's very important for us to try and understand how all of our holdings consider their business within the context of climate change.  How could an increasingly volatile global weather system impact its supply chain?  Also, what is the company's own carbon footprint and what is their responsibility to try and limit global warming?