BMO Global Asset Management (EMEA) outlines 2022 engagement priorities to address climate change and biodiversity

by | Jan 24, 2022

  • Engagement priorities for 2022 include climate change and biodiversity, the chemicals industry, human rights and ESG risk metrics in executive pay
  • 1773 engagements with 940 companies in 2021 sees continued engagement momentum to facilitate positive ESG and investment outcomes 

BMO Global Asset Management (EMEA), now part of Columbia Threadneedle Investments, today announces its engagement priorities for 2022, as it continues to guide companies in support of positive sustainability outcomes.

In the year ahead, BMO GAM (EMEA) has pledged to continue to prioritise engagement with companies on key environmental issues including climate change and biodiversity, as well as human rights issues and executive pay.

Claudia Wearmouth, Co-Head of BMO GAM (EMEA)’s Responsible Investment team, said: “The events of the past year, including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and extreme weather events, have reinforced the importance of creating a more resilient future. Climate change, biodiversity loss and human rights are all issues that require urgent action.

“Active ownership is a key cornerstone of our work and we have a role to play as a conduit to concentrate and amplify our clients’ voices with companies. It can take time to build consensus for change within a business and to develop the tools to do so. We support companies on that journey, but in 2022, a key focus of our work will also be holding companies accountable on their commitments.”

BMO GAM Engagement Priorities in 2022

Addressing climate change and biodiversity remains a core focus

BMO GAM (EMEA) has been engaging with companies to encourage the adoption of climate-friendly business models for more than two decades. This focus will continue in 2022, with climate engagement activity focusing on the phase-out of unabated coal generation by 2030 for developed markets, and 2050 for developing markets, both of which are essential to achieve the Paris goals. While engagement will span all sectors, BMO GAM (EMEA) will concentrate activity on the mining and utilities industries, building on its efforts in 2021, which saw engagement across these sectors, identifying laggard countries and companies where there is the most potential for change, including the US, Japan and South Korea.

Further, BMO GAM (EMEA) will hold companies to account on net zero pledges, engaging with financial institutions to ensure the thorough implementation of net zero strategies, including a carefully managed decline of coal, oil and gas within lending and underwriting portfolios.

Alice Evans, Co-Head of BMO GAM’s Responsible Investment team, continued: “COP26 in November last year served to further highlight the scale of the challenge in addressing climate change. But it also proved a catalyst for action, with the push for private sector commitments resulting in over 3,000 corporates and financial institutions, representing $130 trillion in assets, taking on net zero commitments. Concerns on net zero-washing abound and our 2022 engagement agenda will have a sharp focus on implementation, ensuring that these commitments are backed up by concrete actions to decarbonise.”

In 2021, BMO GAM (EMEA) highlighted biodiversity as a key focus area, one that will continue this year, with increased engagement with companies in the most critical sectors including food and beverage, extractives, materials, transportation and finance to set out strategies, governance, targets and metrics to mitigate biodiversity risks.

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