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Amplified: Reflections on the 2019 voting season

Climate change, AI ethics and data governance, and the US opioid epidemic were among investors’ biggest concerns during the 2019 voting season, with a number of significant shareholder resolutions. We spoke at several shareholder meetings as part of our engagement with companies.

In this episode of Amplified, Amy Wilson, associate director at Hermes EOS, caught up with some of our engagers to reflect on how the voting season went, with a focus on climate change at Daimler and BP, artificial intelligence at Alphabet, and opioid-related risks at pharmaceutical companies Mallinckrodt and Mylan.

We have been pressing German automotive companies to adapt their business models to a low carbon economy, and Daimler recently launched its Ambition2039 strategy, outlining its transition to sustainable mobility. Engager Roland Bosch, who spoke at the Daimler AGM says: “Overall, we believe car manufacturers could be more ambitious in aligning with the Paris Agreement, but the steps taken so far by companies such as Daimler show we are finally on the right path.”

Amy is also joined by:
Bruce Duguid, head of stewardship at Hermes EOS, who talks about a key shareholder resolution at BP brought as part of the Climate Action 100+ collaborative engagement initiative.

Christine Chow, sector lead for technology, who called on Alphabet to strengthen board oversight in its use of AI, highlighting concerns about public access to violent or extremist content online.

Katie Frame, an engager who covers pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies, who explains what investors are asking opioid manufacturers to do to improve their management of opioid-related risks.

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Featured Insights

The false dichotomy in climate risk
Climate risk is often characterised as physical risk or transitional risk - terminology popularised by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Facilitating collaborative engagement on climate change
Hermes EOS has actively engaged with some of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, asking for development of more sustainable long-term business models, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improved governance and disclosure.
Tencent
In August 2019, Tencent appointed its first female director following Hermes EOS engaging with the company on gender equality. We believe that by encouraging change at Tencent, there will be a multiplier effect on other technology companies, both in China and globally.