Our ESG approach Active ownership
Being a shareholder and partial owner of a company comes with certain rights and duties, while also presenting an opportunity to effect positive change. To Credit Suisse, active ownership means exercising these rights and fulfilling our fiduciary duties on behalf of our clients, who own shares in companies around the world through our funds. The two main elements of active ownership – engagement and proxy voting – constitute some of the most powerful tools in the pursuit of our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.
Through our funds and client portfolios, we hold shares in many companies in Switzerland, Europe, and across the globe. As shareholders, we have the opportunity, on behalf of our clients, to engage with companies, communicate our goals and expectations, and exert concrete influence with our voting power at annual shareholder meetings.
Engagement and proxy voting
To Credit Suisse, engagement means proactively seeking to establish and maintain an open dialogue with many of the companies in our funds. We request and attend meetings with members of the highest levels of management – for example board members and executive officers – where we clearly communicate our goals and preferences on multiple ESG issues.
Furthermore, through proxy voting, we represent our clients nationally and internationally at numerous shareholder meetings each year and exercise our voting rights in the pursuit of defined ESG goals.
Both approaches to active ownership enable us to encourage our partners to more fully embrace sustainable values and practices. Moreover, they give us the opportunity to explain and advance our goals and commitments in this area.
Active ownership goals
Our primary objective, achieved through active ownership, is to maintain and increase the value of those companies in which we are invested.
In all these activities, we pursue the twin goals of strengthening a company’s dedication to ESG goals and enhancing the value of our holdings in portfolios, on behalf of our clients.
Our overarching goal of anticipating and satisfying our clients’ financial needs, and our responsibility toward wider society, mean it is imperative that we continue to make every effort in this regard.
For more information, please refer to the following downloads and links:
- The Active ownership report 2019 provides an in-depth and comprehensive look at our approach, focus, methods, and goals as we engage with companies and exercise our voting rights. Click here to download the report.
- The Proxy voting approach and policy summary for 2020 offers a quick guide to our voting activities. Click here to download the summary.