February 20, 2014
Throughout 2013, GES has reinforced its position as Europe’s leading provider of engagement services. On behalf of investor clients, GES engages with companies breaching international norms and conventions, as well as with those identified as having gaps between most material ESG risks and their performance relating to these risks. The structured process, easy to follow via the online platform, involves extensive dialogue that GES engagement experts conduct with companies worldwide on a day-to-day basis.
During 2013, GES engaged on 111 cases in 102 companies for indications of or confirmed violations of international norms and conventions. 354 potential cases have been evaluated in order to establish if such breaches have taken place. The process involved more than 1800 individual contacts with companies, including email communications, conference calls and face to face meetings.
Within Emerging Markets Engagement, GES has carried out 82 onsite engagement meetings with a focus on the material ESG risks and opportunities. During the year, GES engaged with companies in Nigeria, Brazil, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Russia, South Africa, Mainland China, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Furthermore, in the “Risk Transparency” pilot project conducted in Poland, GES engaged with 170 companies listed at the Polish Stock Exchange.
GES engagement brought about considerable changes in corporate policies and operations around the globe. 32 of the convention breach cases developed in the positive direction, 18 met revision criteria, and 89 milestones were achieved. One highlight was GES’ study tour to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in April 2013. The personal meetings and company visits provided GES with valuable experiences which have improved the constructive dialogue with most companies that have ties to operations on occupied Palestinian territory. The corporations appreciated the depth of GES’ analysis of the complex situation in the region.
In addition, a series of engagement-themed events were organised by the company. During the year, GES hosted four webinars on topics of high relevance to investors: EU Transparency Directive, child and forced labour in Uzbek cotton industry, GES’s field trip to Israel and Palestine, and the recent update to UN Guiding Principles and its implications for minority shareholders. In November 2013, the GES Stockholm office held a well-attended Engagement Day, where investor clients had an opportunity to meet and discuss ESG issues with several corporate representatives.
Also last year, following an external audit by ARISE, GES engagement service received quality certification ARISTA®. In this way, all GES’ services are now fully certified. GES recognises the quality management as ongoing work and again dedicated considerable efforts to further improve on it during 2013.
Hanna Roberts, Engagement Director at GES, commented:
“2013 was an exciting year full of many activities, where the research and engagement trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories was a highlight during the spring. In the fall, our first Engagement Day was an inspiring event, with fruitful meetings between our investor clients and companies. The day was a great success and will now feature as an annual client event.
Regarding 2014, we look forward to the outcome of several planned engagement trips as well as the development of our proactive engagement service, where material risks and opportunities will be addressed. I am convinced 2014 will be as exciting and rewarding as 2013 if not even more!”
For further information, please contact:
Hanna Roberts, Engagement Director