Aberdeen Standard Capital International (ASCI), which is regulated by the JFSC, is a discretionary investment manager dedicated to investing for all kinds of futures.
Through its rigorous approach to embedding sustainable and responsible investing criteria as a critical component of its investment process, it believes it can offer portfolios that aim to balance investment performance while helping to create a better, more sustainable world.
One of the many facets of sustainable investing is stewardship. As active managers, regular meetings are held with the management teams of the companies in which it invests.
A dedicated governance team meet company boards and also guide proxy voting on behalf of clients. ESG (environmental, social and governance) analysts corroborate the information received at those meetings or from company releases by speaking to competitors, firms involved in the supply chains, customers and industry champions. This all goes towards the decision-making process of whether to invest in a particular company or not.
Engagement in action – Microsoft
- Engagement meetings have been held with the tech giant for a number of years on its practises with regard to child and slave labour, conflict minerals and the group’s global supply chain standards.
- Microsoft has come in for criticism for not having a policy in place to prevent child/slave labour in its supply chain, particularly the mining of cobalt, which is widely used in lithium-ion batteries.
- ASCI clients’ voting rights were exercised to encourage Microsoft to improve its oversight of this issue and engagement has been influential in achieving positive change.
- Microsoft launched its Responsible Sourcing of Raw Materials Policy in 2014, which requires a risk assessment for each new supplier and products, no matter the material or from where it is sourced.
- Microsoft now works alongside Pact (people, actions, collaboration and technology) to address the root causes of child labour, specifically in the mining supply chain.
- Its work with Pact in the Katanga region of Dominic Republic of Congo (DMC) has reduced the use of child labour by more than 77%.
“Showing that we invest responsibly resonates with many of our clients; we are not just negatively screening investments (in the traditional sense). Instead, we are actively seeking out the companies that hold themselves up to a higher standard and we believe this will lead them to generate superior returns over the long term.”
– Charles Insley, Director, Aberdeen Standard Capital International.