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Aviva Investors delivers on active ESG engagement commitment

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Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc, has published its Annual Responsible Investment Review, reporting significant increases in its voting and engagement activity for 2020. 

The review outlines how Aviva Investors’ responsible investment approach aligned with the priorities of clients and society.
 
The report reveals that Aviva Investors voted on over 72,025 resolutions at 6,457 shareholder meetings globally in 2020, a 16 per cent increase in resolutions voted on and 20 per cent increase in meetings from 2019. Aviva Investors voted in favour of 98 per cent of the most significant climate and social shareholder proposals tracked by ShareAction.
 
Remuneration was the issue most actively opposed, Aviva Investors voted against 43 per cent of 7,680 remuneration resolutions. This was followed by director elections (32 per cent), anti-takeover measures (31 per cent) and auditors (22 per cent). 
 
Aviva Investors was ranked second by ShareAction for its environmental voting track record and achieved an A+ rating in the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment scorecard.

Through bilateral and collaborative company engagements, the exercising of voting rights, filing shareholder resolutions, and dialogue with regulators, Aviva Investors achieved 90 successful engagement outcomes. These included a call for social media platforms to strengthen controls against objectionable content and holding the Brazilian government to account over deforestation in the Amazon.
 
With the collaboration of its ESG, equity and credit teams, Aviva Investors notched up targeted engagement with over 1,500 companies and was involved in a further 1,900 corporate interactions through collaborative initiatives and written communications.
 
In real assets, good progress was made against Aviva Investors’ commitment to originate GBP1 billion of climate transition-focused loans by 2025, with GBP189 million of sustainable loans originated in 2020. Since 2015, the company has also made GBP5 billion of investments in solar, wind, energy centres and energy from waste. In 2020, Aviva Investors also invested GBP172 million in social housing, contributing to the provision of affordable homes in communities across the UK.
 
To support its stewardship activities, Aviva Investors strengthened its internal ESG research capabilities. This included launch of a proprietary ESG ratings tool and publication of over 500 internal ESG research notes.
 
Aviva Investors’ market reform efforts are an extension of its integration and stewardship work. Where market failures exist or there are systemic or market stability risks, Aviva Investors engages with policymakers to reform markets. Currently, efforts are focused on four main areas of market reform, including climate change, biodiversity, antimicrobial resistance and diversity.
 
Mark Versey, CEO, Aviva Investors, says: “History may look back on 2020 as a turning point for environmental, social and governance issues. 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. 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.”

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