Summary of responses to the PRI reporting and assessment tool 2008

Comité syndical national de retraite Bâtirente

Organisational Overview
1. What were your organisation's total assets under management as of 31 December 2007 (in millions)?800
Please select currencyCanadian dollar (CAD)
1a. If 'Other' was selected, please specify the other currency hereNo Answer
2. What category would best describe your organisation?Pension or superannuation or retirement or provident fund or plan
3. What proportion (in %) of your fund is defined benefit and what proportion (in %) is defined contribution? (please only answer this question if you answered “Pension or superannuation or retirement or provident fund or plan” to Q2)
Defined benefit0
Defined contribution100
4. Please provide an overview of your asset mix as of 31 December 2007 (in %):
Listed equity (developed market, active)21
Listed equity (developed market, passive)0
Listed equity (emerging market, active)0
Listed equity (emerging market, passive)0
Fixed income - developed markets59.18
Fixed income - emerging markets0
Real estate or property6.88
Private equity0
Hedge fund0
Infrastructure0
Currency6.15
Commodities5.97
Cash0
Other (Please specify): Unit of cooperatives 0.82
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)00
Listed equity (emerging market, active)00
Listed equity (emerging market, passive)00
Fixed income - developed markets0100
Fixed income - emerging markets00
Real estate or property0100
Private equity00
Hedge fund00
Infrastructure00
Currency0100
Commodities0100
Cash00
Other (Please specify): Unit of cooperatives 0100
Principle 1
7. Do you have a formal investment policy 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 an independent RI/ESG policy
9. In what year were RI/ESG issues first formally addressed in a policy statement (integrated or independent)?2005
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):upon request: laetitia.tankwe@batirente.qc.ca Should be put on Batirente's website shortly: www.batirente.qc.ca
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
Fixed income - developed markets100
Real estate or property0
Currency0
Commodities0
Unit of cooperatives0
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
Fixed income - developed marketsTo a small extent
Real estate or propertyNot at all
CommoditiesNot at all
Unit of cooperativesNot at all
16. What proportion of your assets involve screening out or excluding stocks or sectors based on ethical (rather than long-term financial) criteria? (in %)
17. Do you have any staff dedicated to RI/ESG issue analysis and/or implementation?
 
Dedicated
Combined full-time equivalents
Investment analyst00
Research analyst00.3
RI/ESG issue policy advisor00.1
(proxy) Voting specialist00.1
Engagement specialist00.5
Portfolio manager00
Other (Please specify):00
18. Which Board committee or other executive body has overall responsibility for RI/ESG issues?we have a extra financial risks committee at board level.
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 %)
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,Conferences,Other (please specify): 'MBA'
23. Did you support the development of nonproprietary RI/ESG issue-related tools, metrics, analysis or academic research in 2007?To a small 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):not disclosesd publicly: work done with our portfolio managers or not disclosed yet: support to students thesis
25. Have you advocated/supported/ encouraged/participated in RI/ESG issue-related industry-wide training for investment professionals during 2007?Sponsored industry events,Advocated RI/ESG coverage in professional training programs (CFA, MBA, etc.),Spoke at or attended conferences,Had dialogue or exchanges with peers
26. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 1?Batirente adopted its responsible investment policy 3 years ago. We made the choice to adopt a policy that we would then be able to implement. Therefore, we focused in this policy on our Canadian public equities. Nevertheless, we are proud to have been able to apply the principles of this policy to a broader range of assets on an ad hoc basis. We intend to formally extend our policy to new asset classes in the coming years
27. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 1?Batirente is highly exposed to fixed income. Therefore we are trying to identify ways to integrate to a greater extent ESG issues in this class of assets. This is a big challenge because holding bonds do not give us the same leverage than holding equities. We feel that rating agencies need more market initiatives to integrate ESG criteria in their bond emissions rating. We, as a small fund, can not lead this significant change alone. Meanwhile, our portfolio managers integrate ESG criteria when they have the info as part of qualitative data. Thanks to the current financial context, they have more often the possibility to meet with the financial department of the companies and ask for more accountability
28. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 1 here.no comments
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):No Answer
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 privatelyTo a small extent
Direct engagement conducted publiclyNot at all
Collaborative engagementNot at all
Other (Please specify):No Answer
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)?Some (please specify regional differences): 'North America'
34. Please indicate how your (proxy) voting policy can be obtained (a URL would be sufficient):upon reques: laetitia.takwe@batirente.qc.ca Should be available soon on Batirnete's website: www.batirente.qc.ca
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 %)23
37. What percentage of shareholder resolutions relating to environmental, social or governance issues was supported? (in %)
Environmental100
Social100
Governance23
39. How many shareholder resolutions related to RI/ESG issues did you participate in during 2007?
As lead filer4
As co-filer1
Planning to be lead filer in 20080
Planning to be co-filer in 20080
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
42. Do you systematically ask your external investment managers to bring RI/ESG issue-related engagement opportunities to you?To a moderate 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
Environmental9011
Social820
Governance1000
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,Bribery/corruption,Climate change,Distribution of fair trade products,Environment,Governance,Human rights,Labour issues,Other (please specify): 'Right to water, Free Prior and Informed Consent, sustainable reporting'
45. How were RI/ESG issue-related engagement targets and topics identified? Please check all that apply.Sector exposure,Risk profile,Focus issue,Ad hoc/reactive,NGO or union campaign
46. Do you set RI/ESG issue-related engagement objectives and attempt to evaluate success?To a moderate 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,Shareholder resolutions withdrawn after successful negotiations with portfolio companies,Satisfactory percentages of (proxy) votes in favour of filed or co-filed shareowner resolutions
48. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 2?Batirente decided than in order to get the most success from its direct engagement, the fund should adopt a macro economic perspective. This year, this strategic decision was reflected through a global dialog we conducted with Canadian partners with the forestry sector. We support the Canadian boreal initiative and to implement our commitment to the initiative, we entered into a vertical and integrated dialog with companies upstream, companies which exploit tenures, with retailing companies and with NGOs which have the possibility to sensitize the final customers around FSC certification. This strategy enabled us to avoid bottlenecks with retailers for instance which could otherwise have argued that they can not sell FSC products because of an insufficient offer upstream or/and demand downstream.
49. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 2?We have the ambition to engage each year a bigger number of companies in our portfolios. Lack of resources, to access to reliable information, to devote to each file, is still our main challenge.
50. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 2 here.no comment
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,Other (please specify): 'EITI, FSC principles'
56. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 3?Years after years, Batirente is able to get improved disclosure from its investee companies. We build long term relationships with companies because it is in our best interest that the companies do understand what we are looking for. By demonstrating our commitment to the companies, we are offered the possibility to be involved in their reporting process and to have a word to say on their final reports.
57. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 3?Some companies might be scared by the work required to be a GRI reporter. They also have issues around confidentiality of information. Besides, as long as there is no regulation around ESG disclosure, investors will have to deal with free riders or green washing. This is something which can be difficult to assess.
58. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 3 here.no comment
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)No
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?To a moderate extent
64. To what extent do you encourage peer organisations to become PRI signatories?To a moderate extent
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 moderate extent
67. Have you revisited any relationships with service providers in light of RI/ESG issue-related capabilities?Planning to in 2008
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?Last year, Batirente conducted a survey to review the Canadian and provincial rules which frame shareholders’ rights to file a shareholder proposal in those different Canadian jurisdictions. The fund noticed that there were huge differences among legislations and especially pointed out that the Quebecois Law does not refer to such rights at all. This situation gives companies incorporated in Quebec the possibility to decide not to include shareholder proposal in proxy circular without having to provide any justification. As a Quebecois pension fund and an international owner, Batirente decided that it has to make public representations in order have the Law amended. We are aware that it is likely to be a long work in progress and intend to gather support from other fellow investors on this.
70. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 4?Our small size is here again our main issue: It is more difficult to get our portfolio managers to invest in processes to integrate ESG issues or to sign the PRI when we have a limited number of AUM. We feel that we still need to spread the word to see results.
71. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 4 here.no comments
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?Yes
74. Please elaborate on how the PRI Engagement Clearinghouse could be made more useful:no suggestions. There have been a lot of improvments since last year.
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,Enhanced Analytics Initiative (associate member) (EAI),Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI),Other (please specify): 'SIO Canada, Canadian Boreal Initiative, GRI working group'
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 ProjectWe identified the companies in our portfolios which have not answered to CDP5 and sent them a letter asking them to participate this year. We also filed shareholder proposal on this topic. A Canadian sub group of investors have been set up in order to discuss climate change issues
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)We took part to all investor group meetings of the EITI in order to stay informed on the future and results of the initiative. We filed a shareholder proposal with PetroCanada asking the company to endorse the EITI and we made a follow up with the companies which endorsed the initiative last year following the engagement we had with them.
Other (please specify)
We organized an additional day of conference piggy back to the last SIO meeting in May. We invited a wide variety of speakers (PRI secretariat, portfolio managers, pension fund.) to talk about ESG integration and fiduciary duties. We plan to develop further activities in Quebec on this topic in the frame of the SIO.
77. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 5?Collaboration is a key word for us as a small fund. We are proud to be part of the small fund initiative working group launched by the PRI after the PRI in person event in Geneva last year. We decided to co lead this group with the Nathan Cumings Foundation and the PRI secretariat because we do see it as a way to leverage our efforts. The initiative is taking width with the implication of more and more PRI signatories and we hope to be able to present concrete projects a the next PRI person event in Seoul.
78. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 5?We have not found collaboration very difficult. This is more a matter of coordination of agenda than a resources issue. We can indeed limit the number of air travel thanks to conference calls for instance. With experience we also tend to better know our peers and to identify those with whom we could collaborate
79. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 5 here.no comment
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):in our sustainable and annual report and in our responsible investment policy. laetitia.tankwe@batirente.qc.ca, www.batirente.qc.ca
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):in our annual and sustainable report: www.batirente.qc.ca
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):in our annual and sustainable report: www.batirente.qc.ca
86. Did you communicate on RI/ESG issues and the PRI to beneficiaries or plan participants in 2007?To a large extent
87. Please indicate how your communication on RI/ESG issues and the PRI to beneficiaries or plan participants can be obtained (if it is publicly available, a URL would be sufficient):- During conferences - Through the production of a brochure (availabe upon request by email to laetitia tankwe) - to come in our 2007 annual report
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.Investment policy,Proxy voting,Provision of new research
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 moderate extent
91. Have you sought to determine what impact your RI/ESG issue-related approach has had on the performance of your portfolio?Not at all
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 large 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
94. What was your most significant achievement in 2007 in relation to your implementation of Principle 6?Despite the fact that we are not a public listed company, we decided to produce a GRI report on a yearly basis. In 2007, we followed the G3 and assessed our report to be a level A report. We nevertheless think that we can improve our reporting process and intend to do so in 2008. Our purpose while doing this demanding exercise is to keep our beneficiaries aware of our activities in order to keep their adhesion on what we are trying to achieve. This is also a way for them to be proud of the values we are promoting thanks to the money they entrust us with. Moreover, our disclosure effort is a way to comply with what we are asking from invested companies, It enhances our credibility when we request them to make the same effort. At lat, GRI reporting is a useful tool to assess our own internal performances, to identify how we could contribute to the community by reducing our environmental footprint for instance and to target possible avenues of improvement.
95. What was your biggest barrier in 2007 with relation to your implementation of Principle 6?none
96. Please add any overall comments and clarifications related to Principle 6 here.no comment
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 small 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 signed the SIRAN declaration on GRI reporting for companies in emerging markets and we engaged collaboratively Total and Chevron for their activities in Burma.
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) votingNot Applicable
Direct engagement conducted privatelyNot at all
Direct engagement conducted publiclyNot at all
Collaborative engagementTo a small extent
Filing shareholder resolutionsNot Applicable
Co-filing shareholder resolutionsNot Applicable
Other (Please specify): none Not Applicable
101. To what extent have you developed a comprehensive RI/ESG engagement capability regarding business activities in emerging markets?Not at all
102. Please list the three most often addressed RI/ESG-related issues in your shareholder engagement initiatives in emerging markets?
1.Forced labor
2.ESG disclosure
3.none
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 small extent
AdherenceNot at all
104. Do you take RI/ESG considerations into account when selecting and approving emerging markets external investment managers?Not at all
105. Do your consultants factor RI/ESG issues into their short listing of emerging markets external investment managers?Not at all
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?Not at all
107. To what extent have you worked together with other investors to improve the effectiveness of implementing the PRI in emerging markets?Not at all
108. Are you undertaking any additional efforts to raise awareness of RI/ESG issues in emerging markets?Not at all
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.We are not exposed to emerging market this is why most of these questions are not pertinent to us. We answered “not at all”, whereas “not applicable” would have been more pertinent. We nevertheless participated in two collaborative actions because companies based in developed countries can have activities in emerging markets. Therefore, we felt that it was positive to contribute to better market conditions in these countries too.
111. What is your top PRI-related goal/priority for emerging markets in 2008?none
Closing Comments
112. Why did your organisation join the PRI?We consider that this is in our fiduciary duty to take into consideration all the risks and opportunities our members might have to cope with through the investments we make. Beside, as a labour sponsored pension fund, we wanted to implement investment principles which were in line with the values promoted by the union which set up us 20 years ago.
113. Please describe the benefits you have enjoyed as a result of signing the PRI:The PRI has enhanced the credibility of ESG integration as major mainstream investors have signed them. It also helped clarifying the vocabulary and makes a clear distinction between ESG integration and ethical investment.
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?Thanks to the PRI, we had new arguments to bring to the table while discussing with our portfolio managers to have them paying more attention to ESG indicators. We have been able to set up a regular reporting procedure on ESG risks and opportunities they might have identified in our portfolios and we globally get more info from them with no additional fees.
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.Small funds should be targeted because despite the fact that they have less resources, they have the capacity to move faster when decisions have been taken.
2.Encourage research on materiality of ESG risks and opportunities (provide business cases, academic research...)
3.none
116. What are your top three PRI-related goals/priorities for 2008?
1.Pursue our efforts to broaden integration of ESG issues on a wider type of classes.
2.Going on working with our portfolio manager to make sure that they fully adopted the "PRI spirit"
3.Increase the number of shareholder campaigns we can conduct per year.
117. Please rank the six principles from most difficult to implement to least difficult to implement:
Most difficult
1
Principle 4
2Principle 1
3Principle 3
4Principle 2
5Principle 5
Least difficult
6
Principle 6