Forest, trees and sunlight


Our goal is to have a targeted influence on the management and business practices of the companies in which our customers invest their assets.

Our three-tier engagement approach is designed to ensure a focused dialogue with companies to raise awareness of ESG issues and to encourage steps towards improving their practices.

Engagement as a central investment approach

Our sustainability principle, «ESG integration», focuses on engagement as a central tool for promoting sustainable corporate practices. This also allows us to identify and manage potential ESG risks so that the long-term value of customer investments is protected and enhanced. The focus is on counteracting climate change.

What does engagement mean?

Engagement refers to the ongoing dialogue between shareholders and management. Our asset managers present important ESG issues to companies. The goal is to positively influence business decisions and encourage a positive change in business practices, including ESG practices and ESG footprints.

Why is engagement important?

Engagement creates added value for our stakeholders. Successful engagement helps companies to improve their governance and the management of their environmental and social issues, which in turn reduces financial risk and improves performance.

What does active ownership mean?

Active ownership means that investors use their influence as shareholders to promote responsible behaviour. This includes engagement and the exercise of voting rights.

Engagement approaches

There are different approaches to engagement between investors and companies. The approaches most widely used in practice are described here.

Activist approach

The focus is on a theme. The aim is to influence the decisions made by companies – in consultation with different investors, among others.

Integrated approach

There is a regular exchange on ESG topics between portfolio managers, analysts and company management through established channels such as email and virtual meetings. Zurich Invest Ltd. is pursuing an integrated approach with its three-step engagement approach.

Collaborative approach

Investors work together to jointly influence a company. This can be particularly effective if, together, they hold a significant proportion of shares.

Thematic approach

Investors focus on certain ESG issues that are important to them. They can then engage with multiple companies in their portfolio about these topics.

Our three-step engagement approach

Forest, trees and sunlight

Engagement via our external asset managers

Our external asset managers seek target-oriented dialogue with the management of companies in which they invest our customers’ assets. Through dialogue, asset managers can encourage them to improve their business practices surrounding ESG issues. This should help to improve the investments’ long-term returns and risk profile.

House with ivy

Participation in an international engagement pool

Participation in the ISS engagement pool aims to maximise the impact on companies by pooling efforts. A larger, jointly held portion of the shares allows members to exert greater pressure. By interacting with other members, we can implement our three-step engagement approach more effectively and encourage companies to make positive change.

Wind turbines on a green field

Climate Action Engagement with the Zurich Group

Over a period of at least two years, the Zurich Group has cooperated with companies directly, as well as through Climate Action 100+ and the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA). It focuses on dialogue with carbon-intensive companies to set emissions targets. If the engagement fails, Zurich Invest Ltd will vote against members of the Board of Directors and, if necessary, sell shares as a last measure.

What is an engagement pool?

An engagement pool is an association of investors who pool their resources and influence together to impact companies and bring about positive change. This is usually done through ongoing dialogue with the companies in which they have invested in.

How does an engagement pool work?

An engagement pool sets common ESG goals, develops a coordinated engagement strategy, conducts joint reporting initiatives and monitors outcomes.

Engagement goals

  • Find out more information about the strategy, management and challenges companies face in relation to ESG
  • Have a positive impact on business practices, including ESG practices and ESG footprint
  • Membership of companies in: Net Zero Asset Manager Initiative and Climate Action 100+

Escalation process

The escalation process is an important tool for increasing the impact of engagement activities. If progress is not made or there is a lack of response from a company, it enables issues to be forwarded to more senior management or the board of directors. This increases the pressure on the company to make improvements on ESG issues. The escalation process also helps to minimise potential ESG risks.

3. Influence on the exercise of voting rights

If Zurich Invest Ltd considers the company’s efforts to be unsuccessful after a 24-month period, it will vote against the re-election of the CEO (and, if necessary, other members of the Board of Directors) as part of exercising its voting rights.

4. Divestment

If Zurich Invest Ltd does not identify any significant progress after a further 12 months, a divestment will be explored under its exclusion list.

5. Regular monitoring

By means of regular monitoring, we ensure that an investment is reconsidered once the company has made further progress in terms of their reason for exclusion.

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Key figures on engagement

In our online report – sustainability in figures you will find the key figures on our engagement to date.