ESG disclosure issues were the leading topic in T. Rowe Price Group's corporate engagement activity in 2019, the asset manager said in a report released Monday.
In its second annual ESG Report, T. Rowe Price said ESG is being ingrained into its investment processes, affecting its interactions with companies in its portfolios including proxy votes and influencing shareholder rights advocacy.
Environmental disclosure accounted for 38% of the asset managers' ESG engagements in 2019, as climate change and other environmental risks become a more inherent part in the firm's evaluation of company fundamentals, the report said.
"Our clients are increasingly concerned with understanding environmental-related risks within their portfolios. For us, environmental data is a key component within our responsible investing indicator model, which integrates into our broader investment process. As part of our commitment, we've been active in using our scale and influence to drive positive change," Maria Elena Drew, director of research for responsible investing, said in a statement.
The report also predicts that future engagement between investors and companies will test corporate cultures in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Companies' previous statements about their management of human capital, health and safety, community involvement, and the overall importance of stakeholders to their businesses will be assessed in a whole new context," said Donna Anderson, head of corporate governance, in the report.