Environmental, Social and Governance

We consider environmental, social and governance factors as part of our investment process

How we invest responsibly

The Manager does not judge the suitability of an investment from an ESG perspective on a purely binary basis. Instead, a dynamic approach is taken, investing in companies where the greatest alignment to mitigating the risks can be seen or pursued further through their commitment to improving their ESG profile.  The Manager believes in active engagement with its investments and potential investments: from providing initial guidance on suitable metrics through to holding the company to account for delivering on its promises. It is through this filter that the Manager is comfortable investing in, for example, sectors such as mining and oil & gas, subject to the belief that a company is taking the necessary action to address the energy transition. The Manager has high expectations for these companies given that many commodities are necessary for the transition to a low carbon future. 

Please see pages 39 to 42 of the annual report for more information.

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There are three core principles which underpin the Investment Manager’s integrated ESG approach. Firstly, ESG factors can materially impact financial returns and the long term success of the investment strategy. Secondly, by integrating ESG factors into investment decisions the Investment Manager generates a better understanding of how well companies are managing ESG risks and opportunities and this insight supports better decision making. Finally, active engagement with company management teams is central to enhancing value and a standard part of the Investment Manager’s ongoing stewardship programme.

Financial Returns: ESG factors can be financially material – the level of consideration they are given in a company will ultimately have an impact on corporate performance, either positively or negatively. Those companies that take their ESG responsibilities seriously tend to outperform those that do not.

Fuller Insight: Systematically assessing a company’s ESG risks and opportunities alongside other financial metrics allows the Investment Manager to make better investment decisions.

Corporate Advancement: Informed and constructive engagement helps foster better companies, protecting and enhancing the value of the Company’s investments.

Please see pages 39 to 42 of the annual report for more information.


The Investment Manager’s portfolio managers, sector analysts, ESG equity analysts and central ESG Investment Team collaborate to generate a deep understanding of the ESG risks and opportunities associated with each company. The central ESG team also produces research into specific themes (e.g. labour relations or climate change), sectors (e.g. forestry) and ESG topics to understand and highlight best practice.

Portfolio Managers: All of the Investment Manager’s equity portfolio managers seek to engage actively with companies to gain insight into their specific risks and provide a positive ongoing influence on their corporate strategy for governance, environmental and social impact.

ESG Equity Analysts: The Investment Manager has dedicated and highly experienced ESG equity analysts located across the UK, US, Asia and Australia. Working as part of individual investment teams, rather than as a separate department, these specialists are integral to pre-investment due diligence and post investment ongoing company engagement. They are also responsible for taking thematic research produced by the central ESG Investment Team (see below), interpreting and translating it into actionable insights and engagement programmes for its regional investment strategies.

ESG Investment Team: This central team of more than 20 experienced specialists based in Edinburgh and London provides ESG consultancy and insight for all asset classes. Taking a global approach both identifies regions, industries and sectors that are most vulnerable to ESG risks and identifies those that can take advantage of the opportunities presented. Working with portfolio managers, the team is key to the Investment Manager’s active stewardship approach of using shareholder voting and corporate engagement to drive positive change.

Please see pages 39 to 42 of the annual report for more information.


The Investment Manager continuously monitors and actively engages with the companies in which it invests to maintain ESG focus and improvement. This stewardship of client's assets consists of four interconnected and equally important activities by the Investment Manager to monitor, contact, engage and act. The Investment Manager actively and regularly engages with the management teams of companies in which they are invested in order to share examples of best practice seen in other companies and to effect positive change. The Investment Manager also actively engages with management teams to explain voting decisions at company annual general meetings. The Investment Manager’s engagement extends beyond the company’s management team and can include many other stakeholders such as non-government agencies, industry and regulatory bodies, as well as activists and the company’s clients. Priorities for engagement are established by the use of the ESG House Score, in combination with bottom-up research insights from investment teams across asset classes, and areas of thematic focus from our company level stewardship activities. What gets measured gets managed, so the Investment Manager strongly encourages companies to set clear targets or key performance indicators on all material ESG risks.

Please see pages 39 to 42 of the annual report for more information.

The Investment Manager employs around 150 equity professionals globally. A systematic and globally-applied approach to evaluating stocks allows the Investment Manager to compare companies consistently on their ESG credentials – both regionally and against their peer group.  The Investment Manager uses a combination of external and proprietary in-house quantitative scoring techniques to complement and cross-check analyst-driven ESG assessments. ESG analysis is peer-reviewed within  the equities team, and ESG factors impacting both  sectors and stocks are discussed as part of the formal sector reviews. 

ESG House Score

The ESG House Score is produced by the ESG Equity Analysts. The ESG House Score framework has two main pillars which include detailed operational and governance metrics. The underlying key performance indicators are weighted according to how material they are for each sector and country and populated from proprietary and external data sources such as MSCI and Trucost. The scores are standardised to allow the Investment Manager to see how individual companies rank in a global context.  These scores complement the fundamental analysis of the equity analysts and the ranking of companies from Laggards to Best in Class.   

Equity ESG Quality Score

The Investment Manager’s equity sector analysts have a fully integrated approach to ESG analysis. Within the equity investment process, every company is given a proprietary Quality Rating which has five components: industry analysis, business model analysis, analysis of the company’s moat or competitive advantage, consideration of ESG factors, assessment of management and analysis of financials. In considering the ESG Quality Score the analyst considers these key questions:  
  • Which ESG issues are relevant for this company, how material are they, and how are they being addressed? 
  • What is the assessment of the quality of this company’s governance, ownership structure and management? 
  • Are incentives and key performance indicators aligned with the company’s strategy and the interests of shareholders?

Having considered the regional universe and peer group in which the company operates, the Investment Manager’s equity team then allocates it an ESG Quality rating between one and five (see below). This is applied across every stock that the Investment Manager covers globally. To be considered ‘best in class’, the management of ESG factors must be a material part of the company’s core business strategy; management must provide excellent disclosure of data on key risk; management must also have clear policies and strong governance structures, among other criteria.

Please see pages 39 to 42 of the annual report for more information.

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