We are proud to be signatories of the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance (SBE) Principles1, as we believe it is well aligned with the objective of the Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Strategy. The strategy was created with twin objectives to enhance company returns and catalyze positive change among public equity holdings that we believe have business activities linked to the blue economy with an impact on ocean health.
At Rockefeller Asset Management, we believe our decades long ESG investing history and 10 years of experience in the blue economy investment opportunities, supported by our partnership with The Ocean Foundation, give us compelling knowledge and access to address ocean-related challenges, support solutions, and catalyze positive impact through engagement.
The objective of the Ocean Engagement Strategy is to outperform global equity markets over the long-term by investing in Ocean Health improvers, leaders, and solutions-oriented equity stocks. While the portfolio is benchmark unconstrained, we believe that companies positioned alongside Ocean Health themes will outperform over the long-term.
The Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Strategy incorporates an active shareholder engagement strategy that incorporates the sub-targets of SDG 14 (Life Below Water).
Pollution Prevention, Carbon Transition, and Ocean Conservation are the three major themes that we believe can capture opportunities to actively engage with companies to address material issues that can enhance their risk profile and seek to exploit opportunities linked to the sustainable development goals (SDG), in particular, SDG 14 For example, plastic pollution has been recognized as causing significant harm to ocean ecosystems. Despite this, plastic use has increased considerably over the last five decades. Furthermore, emerging concerns, such as microplastics, are leading to potential new policies and regulations to address recycling infrastructure, alternative packaging, and potential health risks. Rockefeller’s Ocean Engagement strategy is designed to encourage companies to sustainably manage and protect marine coastal ecosystems from pollution of all kinds. We also look to address the impacts of ocean acidification, and to end overfishing and destructive fishing practices through influencing business practices and promoting positive impacts on the ocean environment.
For the calendar year ending, December 31, 2022, we had 52 portfolio holdings and 111 company shareholder engagements. We measure our engagement progress through four categories: 1) Target communicated, 2) Company has acknowledged the issues, 3) Company addressing issue internally, 4) Target achieved. In 2022, out of 172 targets set, we were able to achieve 46 targets.
We believe recent policies to help accelerate renewable energy, the circular economy, and sustainable marine transportation can provide opportunities among mature industries that are usually overlooked by public equity funds that are seeking ESG leaders. In addition to exciting opportunities among solution-oriented and ESG-leading business models, there are underappreciated opportunities among mature industries that have attractive valuations, middling third party ESG scores, or may not be adequately recognized for their sustainability efforts. The incorporation of active engagement can reduce risk and promote sustainable efforts that can be recognized by the market over time. Many of the SBE finance targets overlap with the objectives, philosophy, and approach of the Ocean Engagement strategy.
|SBE Finance Principles
|Rockefeller Asset Management Actions
|The underlying objective of the Ocean Engagement Strategy is to promote sustainable efforts that can restore and protect the overall health of ocean ecosystems.
|Our engagements seek compliance of our investment holdings to various international, regional, and national frameworks which underpin sustainable development and ocean health. For example, we have worked with a Japanese shipping company to abide by the Hong Kong convention to align with international norms on ship breaking.
|Rockefeller Asset Management incorporates shareholder engagement in the fundamental research process for the Ocean Engagement strategy. We have a long-term investment horizon that enables active shareholder engagement.
|Through our partner, The Ocean Foundation, we seek to identify systemic and cumulative impacts of our investments through our shareholder engagements.
|Through our shareholder engagements, we consider socio-economic impacts of the business models we invest in. For example, we engage on controversial labor issues related to the seafood company holdings.
|We collaborate with multiple entities, such as ocean-centric NGOs and engagement platforms, to access and leverage expertise to catalyze change through our engagement.
|We strive to provide information on our philosophy and approach and provide a yearly impact report.
|Our engagements seek to address issues and topics that are related to multiple Sustainable Development Goals, but in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Conserve and Sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development).
|Our shareholder engagements seek to catalyze change for the environmental, social, and economic benefit our oceans.
|Our investments are based on a framework to consider environmental and social risks that leverages the expertise of our partner, The Ocean Foundation.
|Our portfolio of investment holdings reflects a diversified portfolio of companies that operate in various industries within the blue economy, such as aquaculture, shipping, ports, seafood retailers and packaging companies.
|One aspect of the Ocean Engagement Strategy is to allocate investment to solution-oriented companies that have a positive impact on ocean health that is inherently derived from the business model. For example, we have companies involved in offshore wind, sustainable aquaculture, and environmental and coastal remediation.
|We have partnered with several public and private entities to accelerate progress and help advance our shareholder engagements.
|Our main partnership with The Ocean Foundation enables us to access expertise on various ocean-science related issues that helps us in our fundamental research and risk analysis.
Sustainable Development Goals2
The Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Strategy is explicit in incorporating active shareholder engagement actions that seek to catalyze positive change and contributions primarily to SDG 14, while having positive impacts to other SDGs.
Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework3
The UN Finance initiative is an important development to advocate for biodiversity resilience and to understand systems and systematic risks and identify value of common economic, social, and environmental systems. Although early, we believe it is important to raise awareness of biodiversity issues as they relates to risks of company regulations, operations, and reputation. We believe the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework has the ability to align government policy and investments and goals by financial institutions, which can have implications for reporting the impact to ocean and marine environments.
Global Call for Treaty on Plastic Pollution
In June 2023, the UN convened talks with country representatives to create a legally binding document aimed to reduce harmful plastic waste. We are confident that a plastic pollution treaty will be instrumental in minimizing plastic pollution globally and will complement existing single-use plastic bans and restrictions in many cities around the globe. Rockefeller Asset Management has endorsed the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty4 which convenes an inclusive group of business, financial institutions, key NGOs, and business organizations with a share ambition towards a circular economy for plastic and a strong commitment to support an effective, legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution.
In the near term, Rockefeller Asset Management has launched an exchange traded fund (ETF) for our Ocean Engagement Strategy through Kraneshares. This ETF provides access to the U.S. market audience to invest in the Ocean Engagement Strategy and will allow our annual impact report to be accessed by U.S investors.
Longer-term, we are seeking to provide more information on our engagement activities and seek to collaborate further with our network of NGO’s, academic and research entities with the objective of enhancing our research to seek alpha generating opportunities and catalyze positive change.
Investing involves risk, including risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Some of the risks involved with equities include the possibility that the value of the stocks may fluctuate in response to events specific to the companies or markets, as well as economic, political or social events in the U.S. or abroad. Diversification does not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing refers to an investment approach that incorporates ESG criteria into the investment process. This approach is subjective by nature, and there is no guarantee that an ESG investment approach will be successful or that it will reflect the beliefs or ideals of any one particular investor. ESG market data is limited and much of the data is unstructured and reported in varying increments and timetables. While we endeavor to obtain and analyze relevant ESG market data, there is no guarantee that we will be successful in these efforts. ESG investing can also limit the investment opportunities available to a portfolio, such as the exclusion of certain securities or issuers for nonfinancial reasons and, therefore, the portfolio may perform differently than or underperform other similar portfolios that do not apply an ESG criteria to their investment approach.
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Rockefeller Capital Management is the marketing name for Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. and its affiliates. Investment advisory, asset management and fiduciary activities are performed by the following affiliates of Rockefeller Capital Management: Rockefeller & Co. LLC, Rockefeller Trust Company, N.A. and The Rockefeller Trust Company (Delaware), as the case may be. Rockefeller Asset Management is a division of Rockefeller & Co. LLC and the “Firm” for purposes of the Global Investment Performance Standards (“GIPS®”). Rockefeller Asset Management has been independently verified for the period January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2022. Effective January 1, 2018, the Firm was redefined to include the management of fixed income strategies for periods dating back to January 1, 2012. A complete list and description of the firm’s composites and/or a presentation that adheres to the GIPS standards is available upon request.
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