Continuous dialogue with every asset manager
- Annual reports
- Other documentation
- Ethical and environmental review
- Ongoing reporting on controversies
- Carbon footprint
- ESG analysis
- SDG analysis
- Annual questionnaire
- Annual reports
- Other documentation
Components of Mistra’s toolbox
Dialogue and knowledge of managers
Mistra engages in continuous dialogue with its asset managers, and bases the relationships on mutual trust. The managers reply to various questions concerning sustainability, and a dialogue meeting is then held at which the topics discussed include the questionnaire replies and the results of analyses performed by Mistra. The purpose of the dialogue is to obtain a sound knowledge of the managers, and ensure that our assets are managed on the basis of Mistra’s fundamental values. Accordingly, Mistra prefers to use managers who invest for the long term in companies with operations conducive to sustainable development today and in the future, or businesses that work to successively adapt their products and services in that direction.
Through dialogue, new ideas can also be generated and ideas developed further. The driving force for asset management favouring sustainable development can be strengthened through a joint commitment.
SDG analysis: an initial approach
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of objectives that Mistra’s activities are intended to help achieve. Although the emphasis of Mistra’s work is on the strategic environmental aspects, all 17 SDGs should be included in a sustainability analysis both of the Foundation’s research programmes and of its asset management.
During 2017 Mistra embarked on a process, in dialogue with all the managers, to develop a way of analysing Mistra’s portfolio in relation to the SDGs. This preliminary effort is now being tested and developed further. Positive and negative effects are included, the ambition being to focus the analysis on the most striking ones so that investments with a substantial impact are emphasised. This is done to avoid a general survey of all the companies, which would be difficult to interpret. The analysis is mainly qualitative and based on the estimation of each asset manager concerned.
Mistra sees this as a process that will continue over time. The method is being developed and refined in response to data received and the parallel development of similar tools by others. The analysis serves primarily as a foundation for dialogue with asset managers.
Mistra also has an ESG analysis of its equity portfolio carried out annually. ‘ESG’ stands for ‘Environment, Social and Governance’, and this analysis provides an indication of the companies’ commitments in these areas. The results from the ESG analysis are used in the dialogue with managers, in which we discuss why certain companies rank low and whether there are reasons for greater involvement by Mistra.
Information about controversies is also included. If seriously controversial issues in a company are reported, Mistra contacts the managers that have the company in their respective funds, to discuss what has happened and what measures should be taken.
Assisted by external consultants, Mistra has an annual carbon footprint calculated for the whole equity portfolio.
Mistra has signed the Montréal Carbon Pledge (www.montrealpledge.org), an international initiative, to support development and implementation of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emission monitoring in connection with capital investments. By asking for GHG emission figures, Mistra can also promote greater data availability. At the same time, Mistra is well aware of the limitations of a carbon footprint.
In dialogues with managers, information from the analysis is used as documentation, mainly with a focus on companies that do not report GHG emissions and how these can be encouraged to report them, and on companies defined in the analysis as ‘laggards’ when it comes to risk management associated with GHG emissions.
Norm- and sector-based screening
Screening is used to ensure that Mistra does not have in its portfolio companies that contravene international conventions and principles in environmental protection, human rights, labour law or anti-corruption, or companies involved in anti-personnel mines, cluster weapons, or chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. A sector-based screening is also carried out to identify companies in which 5% or more of turnover may be derived from alcohol, gambling, military materiel, pornography or tobacco, or where 50% or more is derived from fossil fuels.
These tools need to be developed and the supply of data improved. Current research funded by Mistra is adding to knowledge of indicators and ranking systems, so that the toolbox is developed over time. Mistra is also supporting the recommendations from the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD): these will help to enable companies’ climate-related financial risks and opportunities to be described in a more relevant, forward-looking way than the current carbon footprint permits. We also actively support the work of CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) in compiling, from companies and other organisations, data connected with climate, water and forests. Various tools for SDG analysis are being developed, and Mistra is monitoring work and participating in, for example, the Öhman Agenda 2030 barometer. By supporting initiatives like this, Mistra can help to boost the supply of information and data, and contribute, by extension, to more relevant sustainability assessment and an enhanced ability to steer the financial market towards greater sustainability.