Railpen publishes 2021 Stewardship Report

Railpen has published its Stewardship Report for 2021 as part of its commitment of being in the first wave signatories to the 2020 UK Stewardship Code.

Building on the inaugural 2020 report, it details Railpen’s progress on its ongoing work to “protect and enhance” the value of its members’ savings through effective stewardship, ESG integration, and the journey towards net zero.

Produced by Railpen’s in-house Sustainable Ownership team, the report details the progress and action taken throughout the year to address Railpen’s four thematic stewardship priorities between 2021-2025: the climate transition, the worth of workforce, responsible technology and sustainable financial markets.

The report provides examples of the implementation of its stewardship approach, which is enabled by and delivered through the trustee’s investment beliefs.

Railpen’s report highlighted its ‘outcome-driven engagement approach’ on issues such as climate change (through the Climate Action 100+ coalition), workforce disclosure (including via research with the CIPD, the PLSA and the High Pay Centre) and fair play practices.

The report also provided case studies on Railpen’s approach to voting on diversity (beyond gender), its use of voting as an escalation tactic on board leadership and composition, and Railpen’s approach to ‘Say on Climate’ resolutions.

Railpen head of sustainable ownership, Michael Marshall, commented: “We’re proud of the positive strides in our stewardship and engagement efforts in the last year, building on the strong foundations laid in 2020 and aligning ourselves with the causes that we believe support our members’ best interests.

“Our 350,000 members are firmly at the heart of everything we do on stewardship and beyond. Stewardship is a core part of our fiduciary duty, and we are committed to using our strong position, expertise and heritage in sustainable ownership to tackle some of the biggest issues facing corporations, investors and wider society both today and into the future.”

Railpen senior investment manager, Caroline Scott, added: “Asset owners like Railpen have a significant role to play in driving real change through our stewardship activity.

“Our commitment to being a leading force in tackling climate change is a good example of this, with our carefully considered Plan to reach net zero by 2050, and our proactive company engagement and voting activity demonstrating how we are backing up our words with action.”

“By focusing our efforts on the issues of material importance to our members’ interests, such as climate change, workforce treatment and board composition, we are committed to driving tangible outcomes using every stewardship tool at our disposal.

“This includes meaningful and well-targeted direct and collective engagement activity, intervening in policy debates, and thoughtfully exercising our vote to make our voice heard on material ESG issues.”

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