Responsible Investment

AIMCo is committed to Doing Business the Right Way: We consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in our investment analysis and decision-making in order to better capture risk-adjusted returns for our clients.

AIMCo’s approach to Responsible Investment (RI) is guided by our core values, our fiduciary duty to clients and our long-term investment horizon. AIMCo encourages responsible corporate behaviour and promotes effective corporate governance, fundamental to fiscal stability and sustainable investment returns.


AIMCo’s RI governance structure begins with our Board-approved RI Policy and cascades across the entire organization. The RI team reports to the CIO to facilitate the integration of ESG considerations across asset classes. The RI Committee oversees RI strategy and approves AIMCo’s proxy voting guidelines, exclusions guidelines and engagement guidelines.

Investment Process

AIMCo considers ESG factors across the investment process for our investments in capital markets, private equity, real estate and infrastructure. AIMCo’s RI team votes to exercise shareholder voice on behalf of our clients at publicly traded companies across the globe, taking unique circumstances and local markets into account. The RI team conducts ESG portfolio analytics for certain public equity portfolios and ESG due diligence for some private equity funds. Real estate and infrastructure have their own bespoke sustainability guidelines.

Proxy Voting Review

AIMCo continues to witness a steady increase in the total number of shareholder proposals and total ballots year over year. We supported almost half, or 48%, of shareholder proposals in the 2016 calendar year. We generally support proposals that promote corporate governance principles such as board quality, independence, diversity and pay-aligned-with-performance. We do not always agree with management – we voted against 14% of management proposals in 2016. AIMCo evaluates shareholder proposals conscientiously to consider whether the proposals are reasonable, adequately reflect shareholder concerns and enhance shareholder value. We consider proxy research analysis as an input but ultimately instruct our votes based on our own internal, robust decision-making processes and consistent voting rationale.

Year-Over-Year (2012–16) Proxy Voting Comparison
Category 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Shareholder Proposals (SHP) 479 424 409 382 265
AIMCo Support SHP 48% 53% 36% 43% 30%
Vote Against Management 14% 13% 16% 16% 18%
Total Ballots 25,494 25,505 24,009 22,887 21,983

Shareholder Proposals Summary 2012–2016
(by ESG category and % support)

Engagement Process

AIMCo prefers to engage with companies to effect positive change rather than divest of applicable holdings, reflecting a strategy of “voice over exit.” In 2016 our key ESG engagement focus areas were climate change, worker health and safety and shareholder rights. We engaged with over 30 select companies in 2016 to identify best practices, understand trends and advocate for improvements. Topics included managing climate risk for Albertan oil sands companies, improving supply chain management practices for companies sourcing from Bangladesh and improving executive compensation structure to align with firm performance.

Reporting and Communications

By publicly reporting on our RI activities, AIMCo strives to build client confidence and demonstrate accountability. AIMCo’s RI guiding documents are available through our website, our annual RI report, Client Quarterly RI reports and in our UNPRI Transparency Report. AIMCo’s voting record is also disclosed on our website.

Advocacy and Collaboration

AIMCo is an active member of the national and global RI community and collaborates with like-minded peers on select advocacy initiatives, company engagements, consultations and public policy dialogues to advance best ESG practices and promote client interests on relevant ESG topics. AIMCo’s thought leadership and advocacy contributions are generally posted on our website.

RI membership organizations include:

  • Pension Investment Association of Canada (PIAC)
  • Canadian Coalition of Good Governance (CCGG)
  • Responsible Investment Association (RIA)
  • United nations–backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
  • International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN)