Funds Group: Boston Common Funds
Management Company: Boston Common Asset Management, LLC
Funds Affected: Boston Common U.S. Equity Fund and Boston Common International Fund
Sustainable Investing Strategy: ESG Integration, Exclusions, Shareholder Advocacy, Proxy Voting
The funds seek out companies with sound governance and a history of responsible financial management that are capable of consistent profitability over a long time horizon. The fund integrates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria into the stock selection process and expresses a preference for best-in-class firms with innovative approaches to the environmental and social challenges their industries, society, and the world face. Best-in-class refers to firms that Boston Common views as having better records on ESG criteria than other firms in the same industry or sector. Boston Common endeavors to integrate financial and sustainability factors into its investment process because it believes that ESG research helps identify companies that will be successful over the long-term. The fund seeks to identify companies that demonstrate a high level of environmental responsibility, commitment to social standards and adherence to best practices in corporate governance. As a result, Boston Common believes ESG research helps improve portfolio quality and financial return potential.
Boston Common avoids companies that have a history of using forced labor, child labor, or sweatshops. These criteria apply to a company’s suppliers as well if the company does not seek to remedy them. The fund avoids companies with a history of illegal employment discrimination.
The fund avoids investing in companies that directly support governments that suppress or deny human rights including foreign governments where the US Government has current sanctions in force. Under the human rights lens, Boston Common is also committed to helping defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It seeks companies that respect the lands and cultures of Indigenous Peoples, and operate in line with the international standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO Convention 169, and Free Prior and Informed Consent.
Boston Common also uses its voice as a shareowner to raise environmental, social, and governance issues with the management of select portfolio companies through a variety of channels. These may include engaging in dialogue with management, participating in shareholder proposal filings, voting proxies in accordance with our proxy voting guidelines, and participating in the annual shareholder meeting process. Through this effort, the firm seeks to encourage company managements toward greater transparency, accountability, disclosure and commitment to ESG issues.