BlackRock teamed up with Ceres to create a guide for U.S. institutional investors on engaging with companies and policymakers on sustainability issues, the two institutions announced Thursday in a news release.
The 68-page “21st Century Engagement: Investor Strategies for Incorporating ESG Considerations into Corporate Interactions” suggests tactics, including step-by-step advice, for use by institutional investors.
BlackRock and Ceres plans to conduct a series of outreach programs and training events at conferences and in webinars, some by invitation only and some open to asset owner trustees and investment managers.
In addition, the guide includes insights written by engagement experts, including from the $308.1 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, $191.2 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, $185.1 billion Florida State Board of Administration, $181.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, $163.4 billion New York City Retirement Systems, $90 billion North Carolina Retirement Systems, $56 billion UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, Wespath Investment Management, TIAA-CREF, T. Rowe Price, USS Investment Management, PGGM and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.
“CalSTRS' investment staff reviews not only the financial potential of investments, but also their social, human and environmental impacts to the ultimate benefit of our members,” Anne Sheehan, CalSTRS' director of corporate governance, said in a statement about the guide, which she added “will help inform others of the how and why we investors need to manage ESG risks.”
“These businesses need us — their investors — to speak up and encourage a culture of long-term investment and growth,” Laurence D. Fink, BlackRock chairman and CEO, said in the guide. “And well-run businesses will respond.”
Michelle Edkins, managing director and global head of corporate governance and responsible investment at BlackRock, said in the statement: “As a long-term investor on behalf of our clients, BlackRock believes we have a responsibility to engage with companies on a range of governance matters, including the material environmental and social impacts of their operations. In our experience, companies that manage all dimensions of the business to the highest standards are more resilient and generate more sustainable financial returns over time. … We hope this guide helps broaden and deepen company-investor dialogue on the ESG factors that impact value creation.”
Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, said in the statement that the guide “outlines various ways for investors to boost their engagement with companies on” ESG issues.
Ceres is a coalition of institutional investors promoting sustainable investing.
The report is available on Ceres' website.