WHY WE ENGAGE?
Engagement with our portfolio companies is an ongoing, iterative process. We engage because both sides benefit from a constructive engagement process: we at Panarchy Partners get an in-depth understanding of how company management thinks about resilience and the four forms of capital.
Conversely, we share with the company how we see their processes and what best practices we’ve seen elsewhere.
Through recurring engagement, we gain a detailed picture of the progress that’s being made by the companies we track. At the same time we learn how to improve our own engagement process. That’s the beauty of engagement.
“In 2022, we engaged with 100% of our portfolio on issues related to all 4 forms of capital.”
THE ACT OF ENGAGEMENT
Engagement at Panarchy Partners pursues these main ambitions:
1. Establish and maintain an open dialogue with company management and our other stakeholders
“Let’s talk, all sides are likely to benefit”
2. Definition, measurement and tracking of quantitative targets concerning resilience and the four forms of capital
“Be measured and be accountable”
3. Identification and exchange of best practice standards
“Who does it best and the sharing of successful methods”
4. Identification and exchange of emerging methods with respect to tracking of qualitative goals
“Who has developed valuable concept for recognizing progress that’s not numerically measurable”
5. Identification of early-stage companies and benchmarking them against best-in-class companies
“Engaging with who’s next on a resilience path, sharing our experiences with past early-stage companies and encouraging them”
ENGAGEMENT CASE STUDY WITH WALMEX
From our perspective, if a company has not done a SE, they are unable to assess their material issues adequately. For this reason, doing a SE is an essential requirement before we do any resilience analysis. In addition, it also helps us to identify companies that are at the start of their sustainability journey.
Our engagement with Walmex also instigated reverse engagement with questions related on how to improve non-financial disclosures to investors in future reports, implementing quantifiable targets on all four forms of capital, consistency of data, the availability of historical data and the timing of disclosure of non-financial data in between annual sustainability reports.
EXAMPLES OF SOME QUESTIONS WE ASKED WALMEX
Walmex’s sustainability journey started 13 years ago initially focused on water reduction and renewable energy within their supplier and distribution stores. However, they did their first Stakeholder Engagement (SE) 8 years ago.
From our resilience analysis, Walmex’s scores increased significantly since doing their first SE in 2012.
In November 2019, it was disclosed that an Australian bank had fallen short of the regulator’s standards in their customer due diligence procedures that led to alleged child exploitation issues amongst other failings.
However, even with best intentions, oversights do happen and we expect our portfolio companies to have a plan to deal fairly and promptly with the issue for the benefit of all stakeholders.
In this case the bank provided a public response with a statement of immediate fixes as well as a statement that "the Short Term Variable Reward will be withheld for the full Executive team and several members of the general management team subject to the assessment of accountability.” The CEO stepped down and an external expert was hired to provide independent oversight into the investigation.
At Panarchy, our response was to evaluate the bank's measures to determine whether they had appropriately addressed the issues. We also wanted to share the bank's response to such failings with the rest of our portfolio banks and understand their procedures with regards to financial crimes and regulatory oversight.
We engaged with all of our banks on the following: