As committed investor we try to engage in an active dialogue with the invested companies and governments within the framework of our responsibility process. We point at weak spots in the area of environmental, social, and governance criteria and then try to find a solution to improve on the status quo together with the company. Our engagement is not only a question of responsibility, but also contributes to minimising risks and can thus improve the long-term investment success of our clients. We engage with companies that the funds of the ERSTE-RESPONSIBLE family of funds invest in. In some cases we also contact companies that we are not invested in – after all, we also want to effect changes in companies that are not investable to us due to their shortcomings in the area of responsibility. We may exclude companies from our investment universe that persistently refuse to enter into a dialogue with us.
In our engagement process we follow four strategies:
- Thematical engagement: we address ESG-relevant topics at regular intervals and report publicly on them. This way we not only ensure that our engagement remains focused, but we also increase the willingness of companies to enter into a dialogue with us. We frequently report on our topical engagement in our investment magazine ERSTE RESPONSIBLE RETURN - The ESG Letter
- Austria engagement: as market leader in Austria we feel obliged to put a specific focus on domestic engagement activities. This is where we leverage our strong market position and reputation.
- Engagement cooperation: we bundle our influence with other engaged investors in order to facilitate change. In doing so we often act as leader in responsibility networks such as PRI.
- External engagement partners: we cooperate with a specialised partner, GES (Global Engagement Service). The agency bundles the capital of numerous investors who participate in order to be accepted as equal partner by the contacted company. GES is globally active and supports Erste Asset Management especially in developing countries.
Once a year we issue a detailed report on our engagement activities, together with GES.