Institutional investors urge Dutch business leaders to take action on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Institutional investors are calling on Dutch companies to take concrete action towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Among the in 2015 adopted goals are an end to poverty and hunger; action on climate change and its impacts; gender equality, and access to clean water and sustainable energy. In today’s published Focus Letter for the 2018 reporting and AGM Season, Eumedion encourages all Dutch listed companies to assess on which 17 Sustainable Development Goals they can generate most impact and to align their business practices and KPI framework with these Goals. Eumedion also stresses the importance of clear and meaningful reporting on the companies’ SDG objectives, the progress made and the generated impact.
Pension funds, insurers and asset managers have prepared a draft Dutch Stewardship Code which expresses their position as an engaged and responsible shareholder at Dutch listed companies. Application of the code’s principles by institutional investors will contribute to sustainable long-term value creation of the investee companies and, consequently, to the long-term returns on the investment portfolio. The code also makes pension funds, insurers and asset managers more accountable to their beneficiaries and clients by making transparent how the exercise of the shareholder rights have contributed to the protection of the value of the investment portfolio. The draft code of conduct has been prepared by Eumedion participants and has been launched today by a public consultation.
Executives of Dutch listed companies pay much more attention to the long-term consequences of their strategy and policy than their US colleagues. This long-term orientation has also become somewhat stronger over the past ten years and is mainly driven by the long-term horizon of the shareholders of the Dutch listed companies and of the executive remuneration policy via the incorporation of long-term performance criteria. These are the main findings of research conducted by the Institute for Governance and Organizational Responsibility (iGOR) of the University of Groningen, commissioned by Eumedion.
The 2017 Dutch proxy season too place in the midst of various unsolicited bids, amongst them the take-over proposals for AkzoNobel, Unilever, Refresco, Accell Group and Telegraaf Media Groep. Nevertheless, only three proposals were rejected by the AGMs, amongst them one shareholder proposal. These are two of the main findings of the evaluation report of the 2017 Dutch proxy season, published today by Eumedion.