VBDOs 2021 engagement themes

AGM Themes 2021

For more than 25 years, VBDO has attended about 40 general meetings of shareholders (AGMs) of Dutch listed companies. We want the impact of our engagement to be as great as possible. That is why every three years we prioritize themes that we and our members consider important. These are themes that can increase the sustainable performance of companies; the themes are material for most of the companies and have an innovative character. Finally, they must have a link to an ESG criterion: from that link we choose three themes; an environmental theme, a social theme and a governance theme.

The themes are determined based on input from our members, experts and the companies to be visited. After the AGM season, we will present our impact in the AGM engagement report.

Below is a brief description of the 2021 AGM themes. Climate adaptation is an engagement theme for the third year, working conditions in the supply chain and diversity for the second year.

Climate adaptation

Climate adaptation is the umbrella term used to adjust to and prepare for the consequences of climate change. The term describes both susceptibility to the negative consequences of climate change and acting with any positive effects. VBDO expects companies to identify risks and opportunities of the physical consequences of climate change for their own operations and in their supply chain. To make climate risks manageable, companies must develop climate adaptation strategies. Companies will need to demonstrate context specific strategies subject to local stakeholder consultation and the company will need to examine the climate resilience of communities where it operates.

Comprehensive climate adaptation strategies ensure that the company is resilient to the impact of direct (acute and short-term) climate risks, such as heavy rainfall, heat stress and water stress. But it also means resilience to indirect (chronic and long-term) climate risks, such as GDP growth, ecosystem degradation and migration.

Working conditions in supply chains

Companies influence human rights in every place and way they operate. VBDO expects companies to subscribe to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to apply them to the working conditions of employees in the supply chain. Companies can work proactively and at their best within the sector if they work with local stakeholders and NGOs. They should also work with suppliers to improve due diligence practices, set relevant goals and set KPIs to measure progress.

Diversity

VBDO believes that companies should reflect the society in which they operate. Inclusive societies are formed by equal access to information, equal pay for the same work, and equal decision-making power for all and especially excluded groups. VBDO expects companies to develop a comprehensive diversity strategy and set relevant goals and KPIs for measuring progress.

AGM season 2021

The 2021 AGM season has now started. You can find an overview of our planned visits here.

AGM engagement report

Our 2021 AGM findings will be published in our annual AGM engagement report, which we will present on the 30th of June. The results of the 2020 season can be found in our AGM report: AGM Engagement Report 2020: Momentum – 25 Years of Engagement. The webinar in which the results of the 2020 season are discussed can be found here.