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VBDOs AGM priority themes for 2022

Since 1995 we have been a loyal visitor to general shareholders’ meetings (AGMs). Every year, we ask critical questions to the directors of around 40 Dutch, listed companies, to promote sustainable business operations. During the engagement process, the most material Environmental, Social and Governance issues with regard to companies and sectors will be addressed. VBDO will focus on three priority themes in 2022:

Biodiversity (environmental, SDG 14 & 15 directly) – new engagement theme

VBDO’s new environmental priority theme in 2022 will be “biodiversity”. We are familiar with this theme as we have focused on
this three times in our 27-year history (2003-2005, 2010-2013, and Natural Capital from 2017-2018). We observe an increased
interest in this topic from financial markets, companies and regulators, but much more needs to be done to bend the curve of
nature loss. WWF’s Nature’s 2020 Living Planet Report states that wildlife populations have declined by 68% since 1970. There is
no time to waste to solve this crisis.

VBDO will define a clear vision for corporate action on biodiversity. We want to know how companies take accountability and
contribute to net-zero loss of biodiversity or become nature positive in the long term. VBDO is aware that biodiversity and the
biological diversity of species are not as material to all companies directly, but all companies rely on goods and services that are
linked to natural capital. Therefore, companies are expected to identify risks and opportunities following topics such as land use,
air quality, water use and quality, climate and soil, both for their own operations and in their supply chains. Although reporting of
impacts and externalities is key, VBDO’s main focus will be on a company’s nature and biodiversity-related strategy, relevant KPIs
and the implementation of mitigating actions.

Labour conditions in supply chains (social, SDG 8) – engagement theme since 2020

Companies have an impact on human rights wherever and however they operate. VBDO expects companies to make sure labour
conditions of workers in the supply chains adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Companies
should collaborate proactively with the sector, local stakeholders and NGOs to advance due diligence approaches and set
relevant targets and KPIs to track progress.

Diversity (governance, SDGs 5, 8 and 10) – engagement theme since 2020

Companies should reflect the societies they operate in. Inclusive societies are created through equal access to information, equal
pay for equal work and involvement in decision-making for all and especially marginalized groups. VBDO expects companies to
formulate comprehensive diversity strategies and set relevant KPIs and targets throughout the organisation to track progress.

How we engage

You can find more information on our engagement process, planned visits and reports here.