Aviva Investors has undertaken over 1,500 engagements with companies, recording 90 instances where it resulted in positive changes in corporate behaviours, as the company was increasing its voting and engagement activity in 2020.
According to its annual responsible investment review, the firm voted on over 72,000 resolutions at 6,457 shareholder meetings globally last year, which represented a 16% growth in a number of resolutions being voted and a 20% increase in meeting compared to 2019.
With remuneration issues being one of the most opposed, the company also voted against director elections, anti-takeover measures and auditors, with the most significant engagement outcomes being strengthening controls against objectionable content and holding the Brazilian government to account over deforestation in the Amazon.
The firm also managed to strengthen its internal environment, social, governance (ESG) research capabilities, which included launch of a proprietary ESG ratings tool and publication of over 500 internal research notes.
“The pandemic has proven to be a giant ESG stress test for the global economy and shown us that today’s challenges will not respect national borders,” Aviva Investors’ chief executive officer, Mark Versey, said.
“Investors have a vital role to play in pushing for change on society’s biggest issues, from climate change to diversity, environmental degradation to human rights. We are proud to have long been at the forefront of investor action on these issues.”