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With sustainable investment and environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations becoming more deeply integrated within financial services, questions are increasingly being asked around the real-world benefit and outcomes of such practices and the sincerity of asset managers' intentions. This is our answer to these questions.
In our first annual Downing Sustainability Report, we outline our approach to sustainability. At Downing, we do not claim to be saving the environment or society, or to invest only in the best-governed assets – but we are pragmatic and we recognise the importance of ESG.
Sustainable investment is not different to ‘normal’ investment. We treat ESG like any other investment consideration, making it an integral part of our investment and engagement activity to drive long-term value the environment and societies and as shareholders (through well governed investees).
This year’s version of the sustainability report contains a summary of our activity over the last year. In 2022, we reinforced our data collection efforts and enhanced processes to measure ESG in alternative, private markets assets – where methods are generally less established than listed markets. We also set clear priorities for engagement, established procedures for tracking outcomes and made a dedicated effort to raise awareness of sustainability issues among employees and investee businesses.
In the report, we outline our carbon footprint following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the steps we are taking to reduce it. As a certified B Corp, we have made a legally binding commitment to show regard to the environment. And while we cautiously call ourselves ‘carbon neutral’, we are committed to offsetting our emissions until we achieve net-zero emissions and successfully remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Supporting our commitment to the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as the de facto standard for managing and disclosing climate impacts, we also use the report to fully disclose the risks and opportunities Downing faces from climate change over short, medium and long-term horizons.
Additionally, we have broken down our voting and engagement activities, and show how they align to the UN Sustainable Development Goals – across topics and geographies.
You will find a list of all the initiatives and groups we subscribe to in the report, as well as concrete numbers quantifying our impact and case studies to bring this to life.
Above all, this report is an illustration of Downing’s dedication to transparency and leading by example for the standards of sustainability that investors expect of the companies to which they provide equity or debt. A letter from our CEO illustrates this further.
As we do our utmost to contribute to a sustainable society, we will continue to clearly communicate our efforts, as well as contribute to policy initiatives with regulators and policymakers and push for better understanding of the many intricacies associated with sustainability.
Download the Downing Sustainability Report for 2022