Denmark’s LD Pensions (LD Fonde) has bolstered its corporate governance work, having created a new ESG role last summer within the organisation, and plans to increase the number of company annual general meetings (AGM) it votes at this year by 50%.
The Frederiksberg-based pension fund manager said Amir Hassan had been hired in the new role of ESG analyst last August, and that he had “turbocharged” LD Pensions’s responsible investment and sustainability work, having evaluated oil companies’ transition plans and secured a better database for the institutional investor’s future climate work, for example.
Hassan said: “We have chosen to put significant resources into our active ownership, as it is a crucial part of our overall ESG strategy.”
LD Pensions said that in the current 2023 AGM season, it expected to vote at more than 900 shareholder meetings – an increase from the 612 meetings it voted at in 2022. The 2022 figure in turn was a doubling of meetings compared with 2021, according to information released on its website yesterday.
The DKK45.9bn (€6.16bn) pensions manager, which runs the holiday allowances fund, Lønmodtagernes Feriemidler, and the non-contributory maturing pension fund, Lønmodtagernes Dyrtidsmidler, said that in 2022, it had taken positions on 8,347 proposals and voted against management recommendations in 35% of cases.
The reason it voted against management so often was, the pension fund explained, because it focused on companies with a low level of sustainability efforts and firms where management saw their company’s activities differently from LD Pensions.
“For example, we focus on the companies’ plans for reducing greenhouse gases and look at whether realistic targets have been set for reducing emissions, and whether there is open and credible reporting on the climate impact,” the fund said.
Hassan said that although shareholder proposals for companies’ climate plans did help push the businesses in a more sustainable direction, the best results were typically created when the companies themselves took responsibility for initiating initiatives that reduced their climate footprint.
Before coming to work for LD Pensions, Hassan was head of section at the Agency for Data Supply and Infrastructure under the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities. He previously worked in humanitarian development in the Middle East through various NGOs.