Summary of responses to the PRI reporting and assessment tool 2008

Ethical Funds Company, The

Organisational Overview
1. What were your organisation's total assets under management as of 31 December 2007 (in millions)?2400
Please select currencyCanadian dollar (CAD)
1a. If 'Other' was selected, please specify the other currency hereNo Answer
4. Please provide an overview of your asset mix as of 31 December 2007 (in %):
Listed equity (developed market, active)76
Listed equity (developed market, passive)1
Listed equity (emerging market, active)1
Listed equity (emerging market, passive)0
Fixed income - developed markets19
Fixed income - emerging markets0
Real estate or property0
Private equity0
Hedge fund0
Infrastructure0
Currency0
Commodities0
Cash3
Other (Please specify): 0
5. Please indicate what percentage of your assets are managed internally and what percentage are managed externally (in %):
 
Internal
External
Listed equity (developed market, active)0100
Listed equity (developed market, passive)0100
Listed equity (emerging market, active)0100
Listed equity (emerging market, passive)00
Fixed income - developed markets0100
Fixed income - emerging markets00
Real estate or property00
Private equity00
Hedge fund00
Infrastructure00
Currency00
Commodities00
Cash0100
Other (Please specify): 00
6. Please provide the following contact details for your main PRI contact:
URL for webpage outlining the specific services and products your organisation has to assist signatories in fulfilling their commitments to the Principleswww.ethicalfunds.com
Principle 1
8. Do you have a statement that makes specific reference to the integration of responsible investment (RI) or environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues within investment decision making and ownership practices?Yes, it is integrated into a broader statement
9. In what year were RI/ESG issues first formally addressed in a policy statement (integrated or independent)?1992
10. Has your statement that makes specific reference to the integration of RI or ESG issues been disclosed publicly?Yes
11. Please indicate how this statement that makes specific reference to the integration of RI or ESG issues can be obtained (a URL would be sufficient):https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/Pages/default.aspx
14. For what percentage of your external assets under management are RI/ESG issues integrated into the investment decision-making processes of your external investment managers? (in %)
Listed equity (developed market, active)100
Listed equity (developed market, passive)100
Listed equity (emerging market, active)100
Fixed income - developed markets100
Cash100
15. To what extent have RI/ESG issues been integrated into the investment decision-making processes of your external investment managers?
Listed equity (developed market, active)To a large extent
Listed equity (developed market, passive)To a large extent
Listed equity (emerging market, active)To a large extent
Fixed income - developed marketsTo a large extent
16. What proportion of your assets involve screening out or excluding stocks or sectors based on ethical (rather than long-term financial) criteria? (in %)100
17. Do you have any staff dedicated to RI/ESG issue analysis and/or implementation?
 
Dedicated
Combined full-time equivalents
Investment analyst00
Research analyst70
RI/ESG issue policy advisor00
(proxy) Voting specialist10
Engagement specialist30
Portfolio manager00
Other (Please specify): Manager, Analytics 00
18. Which Board committee or other executive body has overall responsibility for RI/ESG issues?The Investment Committee
19. Do you assess the capabilities of internal investment staff to incorporate RI/ESG issues?No Answer
20. Do you assess the capabilities of external investment managers to incorporate RI/ESG issues?Yes
21. Approximately what percentage of your internal non-ESG-specialist investment management staff received RI/ESG training in 2007? (in %)100
22. What forms of RI/ESG training or awareness raising have been invested in, encouraged or provided for internal staff (investment and other)?Informal internal training,Formal internal training,Conferences,Professional programs,Regular briefings on key issues
23. Did you support the development of nonproprietary RI/ESG issue-related tools, metrics, analysis or academic research in 2007?To a large extent
24. Please indicate how the results of nonproprietary RI/ESG issue-related tools, metrics, analysis or academic research development you supported can be obtained if they have been disclosed publicly (a URL would be sufficient):Details of our proprietary Corporate Sustainability Scorecard, and our evaluations methodology are available at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/EngagingCompanies/Pages/CorporateSustainabilityScorecard.aspx Details of our proxy voting guidelines and activities are available at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/EngagingCompanies/Pages/ProxyVoting.aspx And information about our corporate dialogues and Shareholder Action Program are available at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/EngagingCompanies/Pages/CorporateDialogue.aspx
25. Have you advocated/supported/ encouraged/participated in RI/ESG issue-related industry-wide training for investment professionals during 2007?Sponsored industry events,Spoke at or attended conferences,Had dialogue or exchanges with peers,Instructed at universities or colleges,Other (please specify): 'Sustainability Perspectives White Papers are published quarterly'
26. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 1?Educating our external managers on the Sustainable Investing Program through our annual PM symposium.
27. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 1?We had to switch proxy voting service providers because Glass Lewis did not see the value in serving the ESG market.
28. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 1 here.N/A
Principle 2
29. To what extent did you employ the following approaches in your 2007 active ownership strategy for listed equities?
(Proxy) votingTo a large extent
Direct engagement conducted privatelyTo a large extent
Direct engagement conducted publiclyTo a large extent
Collaborative engagementTo a large extent
Filing shareholder resolutionsTo a large extent
Co-filing shareholder resolutionsTo a large extent
Other (Please specify):
Not applicable
30. To what extent did you employ the following approaches in your 2007 active ownership strategy for all asset classes other than listed equity?
(Proxy) votingNot at all
Direct engagement conducted privatelyNot at all
Direct engagement conducted publiclyNot at all
Collaborative engagementNot at all
Other (Please specify):Not at all
31. Do you have a (proxy) voting policy?Yes - disclosed publicly
32. To what extent does your (proxy) voting policy direct action on ESG issues? For each issue, please indicate the extent of direction.
EnvironmentalTo a large extent
SocialTo a large extent
GovernanceTo a large extent
33. Does your (proxy) voting policy apply to all voting regions (where possible)?Yes
34. Please indicate how your (proxy) voting policy can be obtained (a URL would be sufficient):https://www.ethicalfunds.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/docs/proxy_voting_guidelines.pdf All of our voting acitivity is also reported and notes are included. This is publically disclosed on our website at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/DifferencesWeMake/MakingGoodCompaniesBetter/Pages/ProxyVoting.aspx
35. Do you ensure that voting is done in accordance with your (proxy) voting policy?Yes for all
36. What percentage of total votes cast were against management? (in %)68
37. What percentage of shareholder resolutions relating to environmental, social or governance issues was supported? (in %)
Environmental89
Social89
Governance89
38. Do you conduct (proxy) voting on behalf of your clients?Yes - According to our own policy
39. How many shareholder resolutions related to RI/ESG issues did you participate in during 2007?
As lead filer11
As co-filer4
Planning to be lead filer in 200810
Planning to be co-filer in 20082
40. How were portfolio companies engaged with in 2007? Please check all that apply.Internal staff engaged portfolio companies directly,Internal staff engaged portfolio companies collaboratively
41. Do you systematically bring RI/ESG issue-related engagement opportunities to your clients?To a large extent
43. How many portfolio companies did you engage directly/were engaged on your behalf on ESG issues in 2007?
 
Extensive engagement
Moderate engagement
Basic engagement
Environmental1902400
Social1800
Governance70270
44. What RI/ESG-related issues were addressed in your shareowner engagement initiatives? Please check all that apply.Activities in conflict zones,Benefits and compensation,Climate change,Environment,Governance,HIV/AIDS,Health and safety,Human rights,Labour issues,Other (please specify): 'Biodiversity; Community Engagement (FPIC)'
45. How were RI/ESG issue-related engagement targets and topics identified? Please check all that apply.Client directive,Focus issue,Other (please specify): 'https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/EngagingCompanies/Pages/CreatingOurFocusList.aspx'
46. Do you set RI/ESG issue-related engagement objectives and attempt to evaluate success?To a large extent
47. Have you sought evidence relating to the effectiveness of your active ownership strategy? Please check all that apply.Governance practices changed,(Written) commitment to improve a particular ESG issue,Improved disclosure,Collaborative work with a company on a specific ESG issue,Other evidence of improvement in investee company RI/ESG performance due to our activities,Shareholder resolutions withdrawn after successful negotiations with portfolio companies,Satisfactory percentages of (proxy) votes in favour of filed or co-filed shareowner resolutions,Impact on share price
48. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 2?Our many achievements are highlighted in our annual shareholder action program status reports. These reports are available on our website at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/Pages/Accountability.aspx
49. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 2?We continue to be constrained by dual class share structures, non-voting share structures and trust vehicles that do not permit shareholders to file resolutions.
50. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 2 here.N/A
Principle 3
51. Have you asked that investee companies (or other investment entities) produce standardized reporting on their RI/ESG issue policies, practices or performance (within annual financial reports or other formats)?To a large extent
52. What format of standardized reporting on RI/ESG issue policies, practices or performance have you requested?Integrated with regular financial reports,Standalone corporate social responsibility or sustainability reporting,Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
53. Have you provided feedback to investee companies (or other investment entities) on their reporting on RI/ESG issues?To a large extent
54. Have you sought information from companies regarding their adoption of/adherence to norms, standards, codes of conduct or international initiatives related to RI/ESG issues?
AdoptionTo a large extent
AdherenceTo a large extent
55. Which norms, standards, codes of conduct or international initiatives related to RI/ESG issues have you sought information about from companies, with regard to their adoption of/adherence to?UN Global Compact,Equator Principles,International Labour Organization standards,Universal Declaration of Human Rights
56. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 3?Highlighted in the shareholder action program status report and our focus list updates on www.ethicalfunds.com but we have made differences at companies like Loblaw, CN Rail, Manulife on GRI reporting, executive compensation disclosure and CDP disclosure.
57. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 3?Many companies still do not see ESG issues as material and therefore, worthy of investor attention.
58. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 3 here.N/A
Principle 4
59. Are you considering RI/ESG requirements when searching for and selecting the following?
External investment managerYes
Investment consultantNot applicable
Proxy votingYes
Engagement overlayNot applicable
Investment researchYes
Internal operations (for example, purchasing, travel, office space etc.)Yes
Other (Please specify):Not applicable
60. Have you linked the following to performance on RI/ESG issues?
Investment monitoringYes
Incentive structure (internal investments)Not applicable
Incentive structure (external investments)Not applicable
Contractual relationships with external investment managersYes
61. Are the default pension funds or retirement plans offered to your employees also signatories to the PRI?Yes
62. To what extent do you encourage your service providers to become PRI signatories?Not at all
63. To what extent do you encourage your clients to become PRI signatories?Not applicable
64. To what extent do you encourage peer organisations to become PRI signatories?Not at all
65. Do you have evidence that you have played a role in the improved integration of RI/ESG issues by external investment managers?To a large extent
66. Does your broker evaluation process include an ESG component or do you have a budget to pay cash for ESG broker research?No Answer
67. Have you revisited any relationships with service providers in light of RI/ESG issue-related capabilities?Yes
68. Have you engaged in dialogue, lobbying or initiatives pertaining to government policy and/or industry regulations (for example, stock exchanges, accounting standards) related to RI/ESG issues in 2007?To a large extent
69. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 4?We continue to refine the way we select portfolio managers and involve discussions of ESG issues at the earliest stage possible.
70. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 4?We still have to dispel the myth that incorporating ESG factors into investment decision-making is a performance drag.
71. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 4 here.N/A
Principle 5
72. Did you use the PRI Engagement Clearinghouse in 2007?Both used and posted to it
73. Did your use of the clearinghouse result in subsequent action or collaboration with other signatories?No
74. Please elaborate on how the PRI Engagement Clearinghouse could be made more useful:N/A
75. To what extent do you participate in the following RI/ESG issue-related collaborative engagement initiatives and/or industry associations? For those not listed, please use the "other" field:Carbon Disclosure Project,Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI),Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR),Regional social investment organisation (for example SIF or UKSIF),Social Investment Research Analyst (SIRAN),Other (please specify): 'Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR); Social Investment Organization (SIO); Canadian Boreal Initative (CBI)'
76. Please indicate the three RI/ESG issue-related collaborative engagement initiatives and/or industry associations that you participated in most extensively and indicate how you did so:
Carbon Disclosure ProjectThe Ethical Funds Company is a sponsor of the Canadian CDP report. The Ethical Funds Company initiates a broadcast campaign encouraging Canadian companies to respond to the CDP.
Other (please specify)
The Ethical Funds Company is an associate member of the ICCR. We actively participate in all ICCR working groups, and collaborate with other ICCR members on dialouge with US based companies. Our Manager of Shareholder Action acts as the co-chair for the Human Rights Working Group for the ICCR.
Regional social investment organisation (for example SIF or UKSIF)The Ethical Funds Company sits on the Boreal Leadership Council, and has played an active role in the conservation of the Boreal Forest.
77. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 5?We were able to draw institutional investor attention to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., a company that was lagging on climate change and human rights issues and put pressure on the company to improve through collaboration.
78. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 5?There is still a relatively small group of active investors in Canada so the opportunities to collaborate on Canadian companies are somewhat limited.
79. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 5 here.N/A
Principle 6
80. Have you disclosed how RI/ESG issues are integrated into your investment processes?Yes - to clients or beneficiaries and the public
81. Please indicated how this disclosure of how RI/ESG issues are integrated into your investment processes can be obtained (a URL would be sufficient):https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/Pages/default.aspx
82. To what extent do you disclose your annual (proxy) voting record?Disclose votes and guidance explaining votes
83. Please indicated how your (proxy) voting record can be obtained (a URL would be sufficient):https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/EngagingCompanies/Pages/ProxyVoting.aspx
84. Do you systematically report (privately and/or publicly) on your RI/ESG issue-related engagement activities, results and progress?To a large extent
85. Please indicate how your reporting on RI/ESG issue-related engagement activities, results and progress can be obtained (if it is publicly available, a URL would be sufficient):We issue an annual Shareholder Action Status Report, these reports are available at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/Pages/Accountability.aspx We also issue an annual proxy voting report which is available at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/HowWeWork/EngagingCompanies/Pages/ProxyVoting.aspx And monthly we update information about our corporate dialogue for investors and the public to see on our website at https://www.ethicalfunds.com/en/Investor/ChangingTheWorld/DifferencesWeMake/MakingGoodCompaniesBetter/Pages/FocusList_2008.aspx
88. Are you undertaking any additional efforts to raise awareness of the PRI and RI/ESG issues amongst stakeholders?To a large extent
89. What evidence do you have of the impact on external investment manager practices? Please check those that apply.Engagement,Improved communications on ESG
90. Have you sought to determine what impact your overall RI/ESG issue-related efforts (voting and engagement, investment decision making, disclosure, etc.) have had on corporate behavior or performance?To a large extent
91. Have you sought to determine what impact your RI/ESG issue-related approach has had on the performance of your portfolio?To a large extent
92. Have you sought to determine what impact your RI/ESG issue-related efforts, requests and guidance have had on the consideration of RI/ESG issues by your external service providers excluding external investment managers (for example: research providers, consultants, etc.)?To a moderate extent
93. Do you report on progress and/or achievements relating to the PRI or RI, and how would you like to publish your response to this assessment?Please automatically publish our responses to the reporting and assessment tool in full on the PRI website,We publicly reported on our PRI or RI achievements in 2007 (outside of publishing part or all of this assessment)
94. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 6?Our disclosure and level of transparency continues to be among the best in the industry.
95. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 6?Concerns over disclosing proprietary information particularly in relation to our sustainability scorecard methodology.
96. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 6 here.N/A
Emerging Markets
97. To what extent have you actively thought about how to integrate RI/ESG issues within investment decision making and ownership practices with regards to emerging markets investments?To a large extent
98. Please describe your activities with regards to integrating RI/ESG issues within investment decision making and ownership practices with regards to emerging markets investments.We are working on developing an internal policy on engagement with and evaluation of emerging markets companies. Currently we are part of the UNPRI working group on emerging markets, and have signed on to the Investors Statement on Sustainability Reporting in Emerging Markets which is being organized by SIRAN/ SIO & Calvert.
99. To what extent do you believe the integration of ESG issues in emerging markets is as relevant as the integration of ESG issues in other markets?To the same extent
100. To what extent did you employ the following approaches in your 2007 active ownership strategy in emerging markets?
(Proxy) votingTo a large extent
Direct engagement conducted privatelyNot at all
Direct engagement conducted publiclyNot at all
Collaborative engagementTo a small extent
Filing shareholder resolutionsNot at all
Co-filing shareholder resolutionsNot at all
Other (Please specify): N/A Not Applicable
101. To what extent have you developed a comprehensive RI/ESG engagement capability regarding business activities in emerging markets?To a small extent
102. Please list the three most often addressed RI/ESG-related issues in your shareholder engagement initiatives in emerging markets?
1.environmental initiatives
2.health and safety programs
3.community stakeholder relations and general disclosure
103. Have you sought information from companies regarding their adoption of/adherence to norms, standards, codes of conduct or international initiatives related to RI/ESG issues in emerging markets?
AdoptionTo a large extent
AdherenceTo a large extent
104. Do you take RI/ESG considerations into account when selecting and approving emerging markets external investment managers?To a large extent
105. Do your consultants factor RI/ESG issues into their short listing of emerging markets external investment managers?To a small extent
106. Do you have evidence that you have played a role in the improved integration of RI/ESG issues by external investment managers investing in emerging markets?To a large extent
107. To what extent have you worked together with other investors to improve the effectiveness of implementing the PRI in emerging markets?To a moderate extent
108. Are you undertaking any additional efforts to raise awareness of RI/ESG issues in emerging markets?To a small extent
109. Have you sought to determine what impact your RI/ESG issue-related efforts (voting and engagement, investment decision making, disclosure, etc.) have had on corporate behaviour or performance in emerging markets?Not at all
110. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to the PRI in emerging markets here.N/A
111. What is your top PRI-related goal/priority for emerging markets in 2008?To encourage more disclosure from emerging markets companies, and from other companies about their operations and sourcing activities in emerging markets countries.
Closing Comments
112. Why did your organisation join the PRI?The UNPRI is a good fit for our organization. The Ethical Funds Company was the first Socially Responsible Mutual Funds Company in Canada, and our sustainability analyst team systematically and objectively evaluates companies on ESG policy and performance for inclusion in our portfolio with our proprietary Corporate Sustainability Scorecard. We complement this evaluation with a comprehensive and hugely successful engagement program.
113. Please describe the benefits you have enjoyed as a result of signing the PRI:The PRI brings the possiblity for global collaboration on ESG issues.
114. To what extent do you believe the PRI has succeeded in changing investor behaviour and/or raising awareness or capacity on RI/ESG issues? Do you have any examples you could share?It is still early days for the PRI, however we think the PRI offers great potential to infiltrate the mainstream. We have seen increased support for our shareholder resolutions, which is likely a result of PRI signatory support.
115. What are the top three activities the PRI Secretariat could undertake to enhance and encourage further implementation of the PRI by current and prospective signatories?
1.N/A
2.N/A
3.N/A
116. What are your top three PRI-related goals/priorities for 2008?
1.We have expanded the coverage of our Shareholder Action Program, and now have more Sustainability Analysts in house than any other firm in North America. The themes of our Shareholder Action Program this year are: Climate Change Biodiversity
2.Human Rights Fighting Sweatship Labour Conditions
3.and Good Governance
117. Please rank the six principles from most difficult to implement to least difficult to implement:
Most difficult
1
Principle 4
2Principle 3
3Principle 1
4Principle 5
5Principle 6
Least difficult
6
Principle 2