Active ownership

Engagement process and principles

Exercising our rights

The Storebrand Group believes in exercising our rights as shareholders. We employ two main ways of doing this: voting at shareholder meetings or direct company engagement by expressing our views, in writing or through dialogue with the company's management, advisers or Board of directors.

Both methods can effectively address ESG concerns and provide complementary signals to companies on where we stand on important issues.

The decision to engage with companies is based on our assessment of the significance of a particular matter, holding size, scope to effect change and opportunities to collaborate with other investors.

The Storebrand Group will consider engagement with companies in the following cases:

  • Serious or systematic breaches of human rights
  • Corruption and bribery
  • Severe environmental and climate damage
  • Companies with a low sustainability rating in high-risk industries
  • Company strategy or performance differing substantially from that previously communicated
  • Governance issues such as:
  • Replacement of directors
  • Equity issuance and dividend policies
  • Remuneration of key personnel
  • Transactions between related parties
  • Diversity issues
  • Improve ESG reporting

Reducing carbon footprint

In relation to climate change, the Storebrand Group has signed the Montréal Pledge and the Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition. We are thus committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our investments over time.

Climate change plays a vital part in our monitoring of companies, and we often engage with those we consider lagging in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and encourage them to improve.

For some of our funds, the carbon footprint may vary substantially over time due to the nature of their investment style. We are, however, committed to working with our holdings to reduce their carbon footprint and operate more efficiently over time. 

Engagement alternatives

If the outcome of engaging with companies fails to meet our expectations, the Storebrand Group may consider other actions. If the company is on our observation list, we will make an exclusion assessment. For other companies, our actions may include the following:

  • Expressing our views publicly
  • Proposing resolutions at the company’s Annual General Meeting
  • Requesting an Extraordinary General Meeting

The Storebrand Group may collaborate with other investors where we believe this is in our unit holders' best interests.

When working with other investors to influence companies, the Storebrand Group is always mindful of conflicts of interest and the risk of being in an insider position.

General principles for engagement

Storebrand's Risk and Ownership Team is in dialogue with a large number of companies each year, seeking to influence them to move in a more sustainable direction. Our engagement approach is based on the following principles:

Creating shareholder value

We believe that companies that proactively manage sustainability risks and adjust their strategies and business models to embrace sustainable solutions, will also create increased shareholder value over time. Thus, our clients' shareholder value also encompasses environmental, social and governance value.

Aiming for a positive impact

We do not only engage with companies to require them to redress wrongs (reactive engagement). We also engage with them to lift sustainability standards proactively so as to address potential sustainability risks before they can become impacts, as well as to encourage good practices. Accordingly, we allocate more resources to these proactive engagements, engaging for long periods and, where possible, with other investors for more leverage and better results.

Leveraging our Nordic position

We prioritise our proactive engagement with Nordic companies, where our Nordic position and knowledge of these companies enables constructive and meaningful dialogue that creates value for these companies, Storebrand, and our clients. However, this does not limit us to only engage with Nordic companies. Aspects such as the materiality of ESG risks, exposure, and the ability to have greater impact on ESG issues remain important factors to consider in the prioritisation of our engagement work with companies outside of the Nordics.

Multi-stakeholder engagement

We understand that many sustainability issues cannot be solved by companies or investors alone; they require the involvement of other stakeholders. As a result, we engage with others such as governments, industry organisations, environmental and human rights organisations or labour unions. In particular, we consider policy-level engagement an essential factor in stimulating change since we believe regulation sometimes is required to advance many sustainability issues.

Targeted engagement

We engage companies on their sustainability practices, management of risks to people and the environment, developments in accordance with changing regulations, mitigating reputational risks, and expectations from their shareholders and society at large.

In our experience, we achieve the best results through cooperation with other investors and, when engaging individually, through targeted engagement with companies where our ownership level is highest.

Historical returns are no guarantee of future returns. Future returns will depend, among other things, on market developments, the manager's skills, the fund's risk profile and management fees. The returns can be negative as a result of price losses. There is risk associated with investments in the fund due to market movements, developments in currency, interest rates, economic conditions, industry- and company-specific conditions. Before investing, customers are advised to familiarize themselves with the fund's key information and prospectus, which contains further information about the fund's characteristics and costs.