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Grünfin and ShareAction: unlocking the power of investors

Think you can’t change big businesses? You might be surprised.

Every euro you invest should benefit the planet and society. That’s our mission at Grünfin and it guides us when we’re making investment decisions on your behalf.

One of the ways to do that is to drive more capital towards companies and organisations that have the planet’s and the society’s best interests in mind.

The other way of doing it is changing some of the big companies that serve millions of people over the world and helping them make the right choices.

How do you do that?

Getting involved with shareholder engagement

To impact companies in our portfolio, we must engage with them directly. By doing so, we can have a profound effect on the environment as well as our planet.

This is why we have joined forces with ShareAction, a UK non-profit leading investor coalition.

Shareaction and Grünfin

They will enable us to engage with and collectively back calls on companies to act on climate change, workforce conditions and public health. This means pushing for positive change!

Why is shareholder engagement crucial?

As an individual shareholder, your power is limited. Companies won’t pay much attention to investors with thousands or even millions of euros. So most of us can’t do much to influence corporations on our own.

However, there’s strength in numbers. If we collectively come with billions or trillions in assets, even the largest companies will listen. And ShareAction’s coalition of investors manages assets in the trillions.

How does your voice get heard?

With Grünfin now a member of these coalitions, we represent you by doing the following:

  • Meeting with top executives at some of the world’s largest companies,
  • Supporting shareholder resolutions that direct companies to do more on sustainability matters,
  • Calling on some of the world’s largest fund managers to support resolutions that drive positive change.

An example: making Unilever products healthier

Right now, we are part of a coalition urging Unilever to disclose its sales linked to healthier products, set targets to increase that share and publish progress reviews. Why?

Excess weight affects 1.9 billion adults and 340 million children worldwide. Food and drink manufacturers play a big role in shaping people’s diets. Given Unilever’s leadership position in the sector, it makes this action most relevant.

Unilever sells in over 190 countries and 2.5 billion people consume its products every day. It is a leader in sustainability among huge multinationals, with the goals of achieving net-zero emissions in its operations and ensuring all workers supplying it receive a living wage by 2030.

There are, however, a number of ways that Unilever could improve its food and beverage products.

Last year, the leading benchmarking organization for food companies and their investors, the Access to Nutrition Initiative, found that just 17% of Unilever’s food and beverage sales came from healthier products.

As a result of ongoing engagement led by ShareAction, Unilever will set a new benchmark for public reporting on how healthy its food is. It will now evaluate its sales against major government-endorsed nutrient profile models, and will report this information annually beginning in October 2022. In addition, the company has agreed to set growth targets and share them with shareholders.

These commitments will set a new standard for transparency in reporting for food manufacturers. Let’s hope it spurs the whole sector forward.

What’s next?

We’re excited to have a powerful tool that will enable us to directly stand for what we believe in. Even more importantly, we’ll be able to advocate for you and give you as an investor the leverage that none of us would have individually.

We’re already involved in similar initiatives with other large food companies. Also, we just joined a coalition urging a major financial corporation to reduce its exposure to the fossil fuel sector.

We will keep you updated on all of the projects as we go. Through your contribution, your voice will be heard and your money will help make a difference.

Thank you for being part of the community!

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