Since the start of 2020, we have published a quarterly sustainability report with information about the work being done by SKAGEN both as a company and with our investments. For example, we report on the funds' CO2 footprint and their ESG risk ratings as well as provide updates on current sustainability issues.
In the latest report SKAGEN's CIO Alexandra Morris looks at the future of labour relations in the post-pandemic world, and why it's important for investors to consider social externalities alongside environmental ones. Read more on page 4 in the report.
Active and engaged owner
A large section of the report is dedicated to our stewardship as active owners, which is at the heart of SKAGEN's sustainability efforts. You can read about our voting activity (our funds voted at 98% of voteable meetings and on 98% of voteable items) plus our engagement activity with portfolio companies as we initiated a dialogue on nine new cases during the quarter. A notable success story is the Canadian mining company Roxgold with operations in Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. The company is a holding in SKAGEN Focus and we've encouraged them to improve communication about how they work to protect the environment and their workforce as well as generating shareholder returns.
As COVID-19 started to spread in Africa, Roxgold showed strong stakeholder engagement and responsibility by ensuring the wellbeing of their employees and the surrounding communities in mitigating the impacts of the virus. The company did this by introducing comprehensive protocols at all sites and offices, demonstrating both foresight and initiative. It also engaged the services of an epidemiologist to support the quarantine and isolation of employees displaying symptoms and others who have been in contact with those displaying symptoms. Read more on page 8-9 in the report.
Years of cooperation pay off
An engagement highlight is the South Korean tech giant Samsung, a long-term investment in several of our equity funds. Following a prolonged period of targeted sustainability work and active engagement with the company, Samsung has improved against almost all of our predefined criteria and was removed from the Storebrand observation list during the quarter. It is now fully included in the Group’s investable universe. Read more on page 5-6.
"Investing responsibly is a central part of our business, and an area where we have a major opportunity to influence the transition to a sustainable society. We believe that being an active owner of the companies in which we invest contributes to both investment results and society. And as long-term investors we see that we play an important role in many companies," says Sondre Myge Haugland, ESG Specialist.