The annual meetings of the Swiss and International Ethos Engagement Pools took place this Thursday in Bern to review the dialogue activities carried out in 2021 and to define the priority areas for next year.
Ethos has collected international best practices in the fight against deforestation and summarised them in an Engagement Paper published today. On behalf of the 71 members of its international shareholder dialogue programme, Ethos will initially engage 7 multinational companies particularly exposed to deforestation risks to encourage them to implement concrete and measurable measures to stop the destruction of forests.
LafargeHolcim announced today that it has agreed to Ethos' request to prepare a climate transition report and to submit it to an advisory shareholder vote at its 2022 annual general meeting (AGM). Ethos welcomes the board's decision to involve shareholders in the validation of its climate strategy.
Over the last few months, Ethos Foundation has held numerous discussions with the boards of Nestlé and LafargeHolcim with the aim of encouraging them to voluntarily submit their climate transition plans to a shareholder vote. After Ethos and seven Swiss pension funds submitted a shareholder resolution at Nestlé's annual general meeting (AGM), the board of directors announced on Tuesday 16 March that it would submit its climate strategy to an advisory vote at the AGM on 15 April 2021. Following this welcome decision, Ethos withdrew its shareholder resolution. Discussions with LafargeHolcim are ongoing and the company will announce its decision in the coming weeks.
Ethos published this Wednesday 10th of March the 2020 summary reports of its engagement programs. These reports present the dialogues carried out by Ethos with listed companies, whether to address environmental, social or governance (ESG) issues. Detailed reports are only available for members of the pools.
The mitigation of deforestation becomes a new engagement topic for the Ethos Engagement Pool International
The members of Ethos’ international engagement program also approved the engagement topics for 2021 on Thursday. In addition, they approved the launch by Ethos of a new international engagement campaign to mitigate deforestation.
The members of the Ethos shareholder dialogue program held their annual general meeting on Thursday. They validated the dialogue topics with the main listed companies in Switzerland for the next year, including digital corporate responsibility which was accepted as a new topic.
In conjunction with the Swiss Digital Days 2020, the Ethos Foundation publishes an "Engagement Paper" which summarises its expectations in terms of digital corporate responsibility. At a time of galloping digitalisation of the economy, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ethos considers that companies must be more transparent and responsible in the way they manage the many challenges related to digitalisation.
The Ethos Engagement Pool Switzerland, the ESG dialogue program with companies listed in Switzerland launched by Ethos and two pension funds more than 15 years ago, has now over 150 members representing total assets of around 265 billion francs.
On April 30, 2020 the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) released its 2019 annual report. Coordinated by ShareAction and supported by more than 130 investors, including Ethos and the members of the Ethos Engagement Pool International, this initiative calls for greater transparency by listed companies regarding the management of workers in their direct operations and supply chains. An additional 28 of the targeted companies agreed to complete the WDI questionnaire in 2019 bringing the total number of responding companies to 118.