Calvert SAGE Strategies (SAGE stands for Sustainability Achieved through Greater Engagement) are geared towards the investor who wants to take an active approach in moving companies to make measurable progress on vital ESG issues. With our SAGE Strategies, we engage with companies as shareholders to advocate for specific changes, with specific objectives. Our SAGE Strategies offer investors new opportunities to make an impact with companies never before held in our longstanding sustainable and responsible funds, which we now refer to as our Calvert Signature Strategies.
Calvert's unique SAGE Strategies offer investors new opportunities to make an impact with companies never before held in our longstanding sustainable and responsible funds, now known as Calvert Signature™ Strategies. As with our Signature Fund portfolios, our goal through SAGE is to increase shareholder value and promote corporate responsibility and sustainability over the long term. Our shareholders and stakeholders can count on Calvert to be transparent and accountable in our engagement with the kinds of companies that will be held in SAGE Fund portfolios, some of which are leaders in addressing key sustainability challenges while others have begun to focus only more recently on such challenges. We will take a consistent approach to selecting companies for enhanced engagement, establishing specific objectives, and communicating our progress.
We will engage with any companies held in SAGE Strategies portfolios that do not meet each of the core environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria which continue to apply to Calvert's Signature Strategies portfolios, even though those criteria do not determine whether a company can be held in a SAGE Fund portfolio. Moreover, we commit to what we call enhanced engagement with a select group of companies in a SAGE Fund--especially when we believe those companies' investment performance can benefit from a sharper focus on certain areas of ESG-related risk or opportunity. We will define initial advocacy objectives based on those risks or opportunities, and refine them as we enter dialogue with senior management of those companies.
We will track commitments by companies to strengthen, implement and report on certain policies and practices. We will assess and report periodically on companies' progress towards achieving Calvert's specific advocacy objectives.
Company engagement is not easy, and tangible progress usually takes time. But if a company has failed to make clear commitments or other demonstrable progress towards any of our objectives after a reasonable period of time, Calvert may divest the holding from the SAGE Fund portfolio.
Following are key elements of the framework that will guide Calvert's enhanced engagement with select companies:
Selecting companies for enhanced engagement
Calvert will select companies for enhanced engagement by:
- Prioritizing companies in sectors with high environmental and social impacts (such as oil/gas, mining, materials, chemicals, manufacturing), and also engage companies where governance issues are a key concern.
- Identifying companies that do not meet each of the Calvert Signature Strategies criteria pertaining to the most salient risks for the sector. Selection will be based on Calvert's assessment of the environment, social, and governance issues that may affect overall company ESG performance and thus have potential financial and investment materiality.
Setting objectives for enhanced engagement
Calvert will develop specific objectives for companies based upon ESG risks and opportunities. In some cases, engagement objectives will be applicable to almost all industries, for example, reporting on risks related to climate change. In other cases, objectives will apply to a narrower set of sectors or to individual companies, such as asking oil and gas companies to provide full transparent disclosure of their revenue payments to governments.
Calvert will set tangible and attainable objectives that can be measured through indicators such as new policy commitments, improved reporting, and demonstrable improvement in sustainable performance.
For example, a potential engagement objective would be adoption of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Core Labor Standards as part of the company's policy framework. Progress on that objective will be determined by the company's willingness to reference the standard explicitly in its policy framework.
Standards for assessing quality of engagement and progress towards goals
Calvert will assess the quality of enhanced engagement and progress companies are making towards these goals based on a company's willingness to:
- Engage, reflected in good faith attempt at dialogue and measured by company representatives' participation in phone calls and/or meetings.
- Demonstrate over a reasonable period of time, progress towards these engagement objectives in making commitments and/or demonstrating sustainability performance.
- Address substantively and concretely one or more of the engagement objectives set forth, including recognition of the need to address relevant issues.