“Deka wants to give voice to four million investors” – was the headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine on 11th October of last year. The reason for the headline was the announcement of Deka Investment GmbH to take a more active part in the annual general meetings of the companies which their customers hold shares in, even more so than in the past. In 2016, analysts and portfolio managers of Deka investment GmbH visited nearly 230 annual general meetings and voted on around 2,930 agenda items.
This forum will be used even more in the future to help us deal with the business model and the company management goals constructively, critically and with a long-term perspective. In addition to strategy, yield and finances, questions of good corporate governance and social and environmental issues will also play a role. Also, we will continue to actively address these issues in our direct contacts with the companies whose shares and bonds we purchase for the customers and for our own investments. In the past year, there were about 1,600 instances of such direct business contact.
We also continue with the development of the sustainable Corporate Governance of the Deka Group with the same conviction with which we demand that businesses comply with social and environmental standards and standards of good corporate governance. An important step in this process was the integration of our sustainability strategy into the business strategy in 2014. For the five key areas of action outlined in this report, we have defined the central focal points and desired objectives in the approved business strategy for 2016.
As a result of the decisions of the Paris Conference on Climate Change in December 2015 and the agreement on limiting the global temperature increase to a maximum of two degrees Celsius, we attribute particular importance to the issue of climate change in the current business strategy.
The critical remarks on climate change and climate policy which we are currently hearing from various corners have no effect on our resolve to commit to protecting the climate. However, these remarks may have an effect on the international framework conditions and schedules. We will observe these developments and analyse the possible impact on our business activity.
The volume of sustainable investments managed by Deka has increased. At the end of 2016, we had invested around 28.4 billion euros with consideration of social and environmental criteria and criteria aimed at encouraging good corporate governance. This included more than ten billion euros from our private and institutional customers, for which we have continually expanded our offering of sustainable investment solutions in recent years. The sustainability fi lter introduced in 2014 for our proprietary investments has proven itself in practice. The fi lter excludes companies with controversial business activities from capital investment.
In 2016, we were positively assessed by sustainability analysts for this special commitment in the fi eld of sustainable investments and also for our comprehensive services in other fi elds of activity of our sustainability management. We are particularly pleased that the renowned sustainability rating agency oekom research has again awarded us the coveted “oekom prime” status. It is only awarded to companies that meet the stringent requirements of the agency for comprehensive sustainability management.
In the evaluation, we were able to improve further and achieve the overall grade C+ for the fi rst time. Of the total of 82 companies in the comparison group, only four other companies achieved at least this rating. Also, we were able to maintain the signifi cantly above-average ratings from the rating agencies specialised in sustainability aspects, imug and MSCI ESG, in the year under review.