Essex 2021 ESG Update
Essex Investment Management, LLC, an independent, employee-owned institutional investment firm, continued to build upon our ESG progress from 2020 during the 2021 year. Essex became an official member of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2020 and we satisfied our annual reporting requirement to the PRI for the first time in 2021.
In 2021, we formalized our approach to ESG and responsible investing with our ESG Philosophy statement, which is available on the home page of our website. Our overall approach to ESG at Essex focuses on identifying companies building sustainable businesses and providing innovative solutions to societal challenges. Investing in companies providing solutions to societal challenges, such as environmental and social issues, is well aligned with the firm’s history of investing in dynamic, global growth equity trends. In our philosophy statement, we also outline how ESG is incorporated in our research and portfolio management processes, stewardship activities, and investment exclusions.
To complement our overall ESG approach, Essex developed an ESG framework to use in our research and portfolio management processes. The framework helps Essex investment professionals understand the solutions offered by a company while also providing insights about operational ESG factors that can affect financial performance. Aligning with our overall approach to ESG, the framework has a significant focus on the impact of a company’s products and services. As the SEC potentially releases regulations related to ESG, climate change, and human capital disclosures, we anticipate that our framework will continue to evolve.
Essex’ commitment to ESG was further illustrated by our hire of an Impact Analyst in 2021 to assist in driving ESG efforts across the firm. The analyst is also responsible for the PRI reporting process, serving as the firm’s contact for the PRI and other ESG organizations, and monitoring developments in ESG investing to bring to Essex investment strategies.
Essex also unveiled our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy during the 2021 year. Systemic racism, gender discrimination, and other social impacts continue to plague society, warranting a greater focus on diversity factors. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is particularly relevant to the investment industry since the industry has historically lacked diverse representation. Asset managers can also promote diversity at investee companies through proxy voting, engagement, and other shareholder actions. The Essex DEI policy, which is also available on the home page of our website, outlines how Essex considers DEI factors in the investment process as well as our own corporate practices. Essex investment professionals incorporate DEI and social factors in the investment process because we believe that diverse representation reduces investment risk and enhances corporate performance. In our corporate practices, Essex provides equal opportunity for employment and promotion to all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or disability. Finally, the firm considers DEI factors when contracting services from third party agents.
We have made substantial progress in our ESG processes during 2021, but we understand that our ESG work can always improve. Moving forward to 2022 and beyond, we will continue to enhance and refine our ESG processes to deliver value for our clients and stakeholders.
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