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Collective engagement

Engagement at shareholder meetings

Since 1995, the VBDO has had experience with corporate engagement in various forms. For example, we visit the shareholders’ meetings (AGMs) of around 40 Dutch-listed companies annually and ask critical questions to promote their sustainable performance.

We also provide engagement on behalf of various individual asset managers, with whom we determine the themes and questions in consultation.

Collective engagement

VBDO’s collective engagement consists of, among other things, extensive research and setting up working groups, with the ultimate aim of engaging in discussions with underperforming companies.

In 2022 we started with a collective engagement trajectory for biodiversity in the mining sector. In 2023 we began engaging companies on plastic pollution (on the demand side), and from 2024 we committed ourselves to collectively realizing responsible nickel supply chains.

Plastic (2023-)

  • 3 May 2023 published an investor statement on plastic signed by 190 institutional investors;
  • Ongoing engagement with 38 FMCG and (grocery) retail companies, including The Coca-Cola Company (and its bottlers), Unilever, PepsiCo, Danone, Ahold Delhaize, Nestlé, and Henkel;
  • Letters were sent to MEPs regarding the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) to call on the European Commission to keep its ambition on waste prevention and reuse;
  • Letters were sent to the High Ambition Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty (HAC) members to call for global binding rules;
  • Funded by ClientEarth and Oceana.

Responsible Nickel Supply Chains (2024-)

  • On 20 February 2024, VBDO and Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) published an investor expectations statement signed by 31 institutional investors calling upon companies to enhance their environmental and social due diligence in nickel supply chains of the electric vehicle (EV) industry. They are calling for responsible mining requirements in their mineral supply chain policies. Companies should adopt time-bound commitments to have deforestation-free nickel supply chains;
  • From June 2024, engagement with 28 EV car manufacturers and EV battery producers, including Tesla, Stellantis, Volkswagen, Toyota, Samsung SDI, and BYD.
  • Funded by Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN);
  • Supported by Earthworks, Transport and Environment (T&E), Mighty Earth, Madani Berkelanjutan, Auriga, Fern, Climate Rights International, Forest Watch Indonesia, Satya Bumi, IUCN NL, and AidEnvironment.

Biodiversity and mining

Mining plays a crucial role in the energy transition and the pressure on this sector will only grow in the coming years. In collaboration with a group of investors, the VBDO is engaged in collective engagement with several large mining companies. Specifically, the themes of biodiversity, deforestation, conservation areas, FPIC for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and alignment with international standards (such as IRMA).

An engagement process has been running on the theme of water management since 2020 and in 2022 this engagement was extended to biodiversity. Engagement guides have been written for the three publicly available themes (water management & mining, biodiversity & mining and reclamation & mining). Also, an investor statement has been launched on water management that has been endorsed by a large group of (international) investors.

IUCN NL largely funds VBDO’s collective engagement on biodiversity and mining. Work is done through our Bottom Line! partnership.