During the course of this unique year, the First Sentier Investors (FSI) Responsible Investment (RI) Steering Group has continued to set the direction and strategy for RI within the firm. This included extensive discussions about how RI will continue to develop in a post-COVID world.
We believe 2020 will prove to be a watershed year for RI. As we emerge from the pandemic, there will be an everincreasing focus on how companies impact the world around them and how they earn their social licence to operate (SLO). A critical, intangible corporate asset, SLO refers to the broad, ongoing social acceptance that a company has a right to do business.
Key to the SLO equation are the stakeholders who hold companies to account. Governments, regulators and customers all play a vital role, and so do investors. Every decision about where we allocate capital is a vote regarding a company’s fitness to be in business.
We take our responsibility as stewards of our clients’ capital seriously, and this is why we believe in ongoing, meaningful engagement with companies on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. We are committed to proactively engaging with management to foster better practices around issues including carbon emissions, human rights, diversity and workplace health and safety.
We believe that active managers have both an opportunity and a responsibility to be active. In a post-COVID world, we will all be searching for lessons we must take away from the pandemic. It is important that we use this opportunity to recognise the positive impact investors can make, and to continue looking at how we can work collaboratively with the companies we invest in.
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