Our new report for active ownership illustrates the increasing focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) topics from an investment perspective. The report for the first half of 2019 shows that the number of ESG topics discussed with companies has increased to 83 compared to 59 in 2018. It illustrates the soar in sustainability issues that could have an impact on company performance and thereby the potential return to Danske Bank’s customers.
Focus on business ethics
Business ethics is a focal point in Claus Henrik Johansen’s company dialogues, as weakness here can have negative consequences for the company.
“We have seen companies being involved in misleading marketing or bribery, and court cases that have resulted in fines or bans on selling particular products. This can affect our investment negatively and is something we have to include in our assessment of the company. What is important for us is that companies learn from these cases and tighten their internal guidelines so they can prevent similar cases,” says Claus Henrik Johansen.
When Claus Henrik Johansen talks to companies, he tells them that he prefers to see sustainability anchored at the core of the company and strategically placed at the executive management team. This is increasingly the case among European companies, whereas sustainability tends to be less well integrated with top management in US companies.
Our approach to active ownership
Danske Bank exerts active ownership as a tool to
- manage risks
- unlock opportunities
- maximise returns
- contribute to positive developments
It is part our sustainable investment strategy called ‘ESG inside’ and our fiduciary duty. Through dialogue and voting at annual general meetings, investment teams can influence companies to integrate sustainability into their business models, challenge their positions and support their development and growth.