Over the past seven years, Boston Common has made engaging companies in the Asia region an advocacy priority.  In March 2012, we traveled to Korea and Singapore to meet with portfolio companies and to further ongoing stakeholder dialogues regarding key ESG issues in the region.

In South Korea, we met with companies to discuss the most recent findings of the Emerging Market Disclosure Project (EMDP), which we have co-chaired since 2009.  Lauren Compere, Boston Common’s Director of Shareholder Engagement, met with companies including Hyundai Motors, Hynix, KB Group, Korea Telecom, LG Electronics, Samsung Life, Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom.  We encouraged them to provide more robust disclosure on anti-bribery and corruption policies, and to bring their social disclosure standards in line with their environmental ones.  These meetings provided a platform to discuss key material issues such as supply chain risks, human rights, climate change, and water sustainability.  Our conversations are highlighted in our 1st Quarter 2012 Active Investor Social Update.

In Singapore, we participated in the ESG Asia 2012 Conference hosted by the Singapore Stock Exchange, and organized by Responsible Investor and Responsible Research.  Lauren spoke on the panel on Labor and Human Rights in Asia, where she discussed the global drivers for increased disclosure on supply chain standards.  Prior to the conference, Boston Common organized a private investor strategy discussion on how the global pharmaceuticals sector is responding to Access to Healthcare and Access to Medicines issues in Asia, and sponsored a side meeting with investors participating in EMDP.  Our work on EMDP in Korea was featured in an  article in the ESG Asia 2012 Special Report.

While in Singapore, we met with portfolio companies CapitalLand, Olam, and SingTel to encourage them to increase their sustainability disclosure.  We also continued our discussions on green building trends, responsible sourcing, human rights and technology.   Our recommendations to these companies are highlighted in our 1st Quarter 2012 Active Investor Social Update.

In the last six months alone, we have met with over 20 company managements in Asia to discuss material ESG issues.  As one of the primary ESG-integrated international investment advisors in the U.S., we will continue our advocacy activities with Asian companies as an engagement imperative in 2012.

Published On: March 5, 2012Categories: From the Commons