Proxy voting and company engagement Q1 2024

Across Betashares’ range of ethical and impact ETFs1, in the quarter ending 31 March 2024, we voted at 31 shareholder meetings on 455 individual proposals. We voted FOR 363 times, AGAINST 73 times and withheld or abstained 19 times.

We voted WITH management 390 times and AGAINST management 65 times.

Among the proposals, we supported a proposal at Apple Inc in favour of a report on median gender/racial pay gap. Such a report would enable shareholders to assess the progress and effectiveness of the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Engagement activity

Engagement activity over the quarter was focused on biodiversity, climate disclosures and corporate governance issues.

We engaged with Swiss Re AG based on reports that it was providing insurance to Brazilian farms that were engaged in illegal deforestation, and illegal farms in indigenous protected areas. In its response, Swiss Re said that it had cancelled the policies for these farms and provided a thorough explanation on how it addresses environmental and social risks. We are satisfied with the response and will continue to monitor Swiss Re for any potential ESG risks.

We continued our engagement with Woolworths on concerns relating to the use of proceeds of its green bond. The Environmental Defenders Office wrote to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), detailing issues of concern with the Woolworths green bond, EY’s assurance, and CBI’s certification of the bond. As a result of the concerns relating to the use of proceeds for the green bond, the Betashares Responsible Investment Committee rejected the Woolworths Green Bond as an eligible security for GBND during the annual rebalance process.

We continued our collaborative engagement efforts with Amazon relating to its disclosure of Scope 3 emissions. Amazon acknowledged our concerns and responded that it continues to disclose its carbon emissions in a manner consistent with external reporting standards. Amazon noted that more than 60% of sales in Amazon’s store are from independent third-party sellers who control their own carbon emissions accounting. These products are not goods that Amazon have purchased, and Amazon is not the seller in these transactions, and therefore it does not include the emissions associated with the manufacturing or customer use of those products within its Scope 3 emissions. Amazon failed to address concerns relating to high-level aggregate disclosures, which make comparisons difficult, and the fact that Amazon’s Scope 3 data only includes Amazon-branded products and excludes products that are not Amazon-branded. We will continue to engage with Amazon to resolve these outstanding issues and monitor Amazon’s progress on Scope 3 emission disclosures.

 

1. Being Betashares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF (ASX: ETHI), Betashares Australian Sustainability Leaders ETF (ASX: FAIR) and Betashares Climate Change Innovation ETF (ASX: ERTH).

 

 

 

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