26 July 2021 / Company

Fidelity steps up scrutiny on climate and gender diversity

By Natasha Turner

Asset manager says it will consider voting against companies without climate targets or 30% women on boards

Fidelity steps up scrutiny on climate and gender diversity

Fidelity International has updated its sustainable investing voting principles with expectations for its investee companies to tackle climate change and improve their boards’ gender diversity.

The asset manager’s Sustainable Investing Voting Principles and Guidelines asks companies to take action to manage climate change impacts and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and make specific and appropriate disclosures around emissions, targets, risk management and oversight. Fidelity said from 2022 it will vote against management falling short of these requirements.

“Our message to investee companies is clear; the climate crisis must not and cannot be ignored,” said Jenn-Hui Tan (pictured), global head of stewardship and sustainable investing at Fidelity International.

“It impacts the very nature of major industries in which we invest, and as such must be high on the agenda of all companies.”

On gender diversity the new guidelines Fidelity said it will “actively engage” and consider voting against company management in most developed markets that do not have at least 30% women on the board of directors. In markets where standards on diversity are still developing, an initial 15% threshold is targeted.

Paras Anand, CIO, Asia Pacific at Fidelity International, said: “We are committed to actively engaging with our investee companies in the UK and globally; driving them towards more ambitious gender diversity goals, and ensuing we are holding them to account where our expectations are not met.”     

Part of the Bonhill Group.