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Stewardship Summit 2024: A Short Summary

By Team Maanch  |  
April 12, 2024  |  
5 minutes read

The Stewardship Summit 2024, by ESG Investor, held on 10 April in London, showcased advancements in sustainable investment practices. Maanch actively participated, bringing forth insights from our team. 

Here’s a concise summary of the key discussions and takeaways:

Opening the Dialogue on Stewardship:

The summit commenced with a focus on the evolving landscape of regulatory frameworks, highlighted by Andrea Tweedie from the Financial Reporting Council. Her deep dive into the UK Stewardship Code set the tone, emphasising the growing expectations and responsibilities placed on investors to foster long-term value creation.

Key Insights/ Action: Provide feedback to the FRC on the UK Stewardship Code review through written submissions or by attending roundtable discussions.

Addressing Systemic Risks through Evolved Stewardship

Catherine Howarth of ShareAction articulated the necessity for stewardship practices to evolve in addressing systemic risks.
The first panel discussion with:

  • Caroline Escott, Senior Investment Manager, Sustainable Ownership, Railpen
  • Mark Manning, Founder, New Paradigm Advisory
  • Zeeshan Ghaffar, Technical Specialist / ESG Intelligence, ESG Division – FCA
  • Roger Urwin, Co-founder, Thinking Ahead Institute
  • Will Martindale, Co-founder, Canbury Insights

echoed this sentiment, exploring whether UK regulatory frameworks are keeping pace with the diverse and complex challenges facing asset owners today.

The Big Ask: Engagement Strategies with the Oil and Gas Sector

  • Per-Otto Wold, Co-founder & CEO, Zerolytics
  • Mike Coffin, Head of Oil, Gas & Mining, Carbon Tracker
  • Valeria Piani, Head of Stewardship, Phoenix Group
  • David Carlin, Head of Climate Risk, UNEP-FI
  • Chris Hall, Editorial Director & Co-founder, ESG Investor

A critical session focused on the contentious issue of engagement with the oil and gas sector. The dialogue underscored the importance of persistent engagement rather than divestment, with insights into the methodologies of Climate Action 100+ and their phased approach to maintaining a sustainable carbon budget.

Expanding the Influence of Bondholders

  • Justine Leigh-Bell, Executive Director, Anthropocene Fixed Income Institute
  • Sean Kidney, CEO, Climate Bonds Initiative
  • Emma Douglas, Senior Stewardship Analyst, Brightwell
  • Laith Cahill, Senior Specialist on Net Zero Stewardship, IIGCC
  • Rory Sullivan, CEO, Chronos Sustainability

The discussions broadened to consider the substantial influence of bondholders in driving sustainable change. The panellists, including leaders from the Climate Bonds Initiative and the Anthropocene Fixed Income Institute. They highlighted innovative strategies for capital allocation and engagement to optimise sustainable outcomes.

Maanch’s Spotlight: Pitching Next-Gen Solutions

Our very own Ravi Java, Product Manager at Maanch, took centre stage during the first pitch session, showcasing how our Maanch Engagement Tracker (ET) is revolutionising investment stewardship. This was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how technology can make stewardship workflows efficient and enable teams to focus on value added activities.

Resourcing and Measuring Effective Engagement:

  • Darshita Gillies, Founder & CEO, Maanch
  • Leon Kamhi, Head of Responsibility & EOS, Federated Hermes
  • Paul Lee, Head of Stewardship & Sustainable Investment Strategy, Redington
  • Sofia Condes, Head of Investor Outreach, FAIRR
  • Paul Chandler, Director of Stewardship, PRI

In the afternoon, Darshita Gillies, Founder & CEO of Maanch joined a panel to discuss the resources necessary to support effective stewardship and how to measure its impact. Deliberations focused on the need for structural changes to empower asset owners and managers to fulfil their stewardship roles effectively.

Selecting Partners for Effective Stewardship

  • David Russell, Chair, Transition Pathway Initiative
  • Samantha Chew, Stewardship Lead, Aegon UK
  • Joanna Wright, Trustee, Avon Pension Fund
  • James Moore, Partner, LCP
  • Emmy Hawker, Senior Reporter, ESG Investor

A later panel explored how asset owners can better select proxy firms, consultants, and managers who align with their stewardship values. This session was crucial for understanding the integration of sustainability priorities into broader investment strategies.

  • Academic / Research Perspective: Steve Keen, Honorary Professor, University College London
  • Shipra Gupta, Investments Stewardship Lead, Scottish Widows
  • Nikki Gwilliam-Beeharee, Investor Engagement Strategy Lead, World Benchmarking Alliance
  • Nabylah Abo Dehman, Head of Stewardship, Social Issues & Human Rights, PRI
  • Stephen Barrie, Deputy Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Church of England Pensions Board
  • Maria Nazarova-Doyle, Global Head of Sustainable Investment, IFM Investors
  • Lindsey Stewart, Director of Investment Stewardship Research, Morningstar
  • Vibeka Mair, Senior Reporter, ESG Investor

The summit concluded with insightful discussions on engaging with nature-related themes and advancing social engagement in stewardship practices. These sessions highlighted collaborative strategies to mitigate negative impacts on natural capital and enhance social outcomes within investment portfolios.

Some Fun Moments 

The Maanch exhibit was visited by many interactive and curious attendees. 

Ellen Karin Pedersen, Active Ownership Specialist from Velliv won the Apple Home Pod in the Guessing Game. Her guess 328 coins in the jar was the closest to the right number: 341! Congratulations Ellen and wonderful to meet you in person. 

Some Buzzwords

“Be Selective to be Effective”

“When the US sneezes, rest of the world catch a cold” 

“Systemic Stewardship” 

“Risk, Return and Real World Impact” 

“Need for Long-term mindset Shift” 

“Technology can help solve challenges of Data, Resourcing and Reporting”

“Investors need to change their Game not shift components within the Game” 

sustainable, ESG, Stewardship, Engagement Tracker

Conclusion

The Stewardship Summit 2024 not only provided a platform for critical discussions but also highlighted the essential role of innovation and collaboration in advancing stewardship practices. At Maanch, we remain committed to leveraging our technology to support our clients in navigating these complex landscapes, aiming to foster a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

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