DWS Investment GmbH published its active ownership report with the ESG engagements and proxy voting activities of 2020
In 2020, we accelerated our efforts in active ownership and built on our existing expertise and thought leadership by participating in various industry initiatives but also dynamic discussions with investee companies across our equity and fixed income assets in actively as well as passively managed funds. We managed to substantially increase the number of engagements over the course of the year. Despite the challenging situation or maybe also because of it the discussions with the companies remained very active and constructive.
In 2020, we voted for 2355 shareholders' meetings, whereby we voted "Against" Management recommendations 24% of the time and out of all the voted items 67% had at least 1 vote "Against", "Withhold" or "Abstain". Additionally, we attended the AGM of 2 companies with a speech and sent our questions for the virtual AGMs of 22 companies.
We were especially focused on board composition, including independence, diversity as well as ESG oversight; material sustainability issues, executive compensation and capital decisions. Due to the pandemic a key priority of our discussions was the "S" aspect, including the health and safety of employees, customers and the entire value chain as well as the continuity of operations.
In January 2020, we communicated our intention to increase our scrutiny on the accountability of management and boards when it comes to their companies' compliance with internationally accepted ESG standards, such as UN Global Compact principles, the OECD Guidelines for Multinationals etc. and with regards to their management of material climate and other sustainability-related risks. While some companies made important progress, in particular regarding their climate strategies and the disclosures around those, others need more time in preparing for a just transition to a lower carbon economy.