Our ESG approach

Our philosophy:

Building the world of the future

In light of today’s negative interest rates and with inflation standing at 1.0-1.5%, taking a wealth preservation approach means drawing on different solutions to complement traditional general account and sovereign bond investments. Our role is to support investors in investing in the real economy by reducing the proportion of sovereign bonds in their asset allocation, yet the paradigm change in financial investment stretches far beyond this aspect: just like the direct and indirect effects of the Covid-19 crisis and beyond the health crisis in itself, the sea change in our society is overturning the world we know and turning our sights to the future.

The financial industry and investment management more specifically have a key role to play in shaping and designing the world of tomorrow.

Here at Dorval Asset Management, we pursue an authentic, sincere, engaged and credible approach to support this change, with the full backing of all our staff and in line with Natixis Investment Managers’ pledges in this arena.

 

Our commitment:

Where responsible investment meets fiduciary responsibility 

Dorval Asset Management takes a long-term investment approach, and we firmly believe that we have a pivotal role to play in directing investment to build a more responsible and sustainable economy. We engage with real economy stakeholders to encourage them to adapt their environmental, social and governance practices to support this transition, acting as a responsible investor as we pledge to meet the highest standards with both our clients and partners, as well as with the companies we invest in.

Dorval Asset Management’s approach since 2004 has consistently been built on shareholder dialogue, drawing on a practical and collaborative approach in our role as shareholder – further reinforced by our voting policy – as well as in our regular meetings with companies. This Governance approach is firmly rooted in the Manageurs range’s philosophy, which includes the original Dorval Manageurs fund. However, we also look beyond this aspect and include all Environmental, Social and Governance considerations in our non-financial analysis for stocks in our investment universe, and incorporate these aspects into our manager screening.

 

 

Our approach:

A practical and collaborative method 

Our responsible investment policy covers the full range of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) dimensions and spans all our management strategies, drawing on:

  • Our engagement policy, applied via our voting policy [1]
  • An exclusion policy and a controversy management policy
  • Systematic screening for ESG dimensions, which is embedded in the four keystones of our investment process, drawing on Dorval Asset Management’s proprietary ESG rating methodology for stock-picking.

Our commitment took more formal shape in 2019, when Dorval Asset Management became a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment. We are also involved in efforts to promote the development of sustainable finance in conjunction with major French and international financial market stakeholders.

 

Dorval Asset Management also applies a sector exclusion policy, which we implement hand-in-hand with our ESG pledges to exclude companies in the following sectors from our investment universe:

Controversial weapons

Weapons [2]
Coal [3]
Tobacco

[1]  Publication of all voting data for all portfolios managed by Dorval AM

[2]  Exclusion from the investment universe of all companies that derive 20% of revenues or more from this industry 

[3]  Exclusion from the investment universe of all companies that derive 20% of revenues or more from this industry 

 

Our resources:

A proprietary ESG model underpins our convictions

 

Our proprietary ESG methodology draws on input from our partner MSCI as well as in-house research information to develop issuer ratings across each fund’s investment universe, on the basis of the following aspects:

  • We assess ESG challenges and allocate an in-house weighting after screening for sector-specific, geographical and market cap considerations;
  • We assign an ESG rating for each issuer based on its exposure to the challenges set out, and the way they are managed by the company.

As part of this process, our portfolio management teams and our financial and non-financial analysts screen for 37 ESG challenges based on a range of qualitative and quantitative indicators, with a particular focus on 12 of these aspects.

Corporate governance:

  • Compliance with the basic principles of corporate governance i.e. quality of board of directors – diversity, independence, skills, representation –, alignment of interests with shareholders, capital structure, consideration for minority shareholders, quality of financial reporting and accounting;
  • Anti-corruption efforts.

Environmental considerations:

  • Carbon emissions;
  • Waste management;
  • Water stress;
  • Biodiversity and land management;
  • Opportunities in green technologies and renewable energies.

Social aspects:

  • Labor management;
  • Staff health and safety management;
  • Human capital management;
  • Personal data protection;
  • Product quality.

This stringent rating process assigns an ESG score to each stock in our investment universe, which provides direct input for our portfolio construction and the development of our share price objectives.

 

A key principle:

Aligning with our own corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Our responsible investment approach also naturally applies to the way our company is run, and Dorval Asset Management consistently stives to abide by the principles of loyalty, fairness and transparency with all its stakeholders in its day-to-day operations, while also curtailing its environmental footprint.

Our CSR program is a lengthy and ongoing process and there is always scope for further progress as we strive to reach excellence, but some of Dorval Asset Management’s initiatives in this area have already proven to be both successful and unique.

 

One of our key initiatives – gender diversity at Dorval Asset Management

Dorval Asset Management’s gender diversity and equality practices were recently applauded as we achieved the Best Workplaces For Women accreditation on September 28, 2020. After our Great Place to Work and Best Workplace France 2020 awards, Dorval Asset Management thus became the first French asset manager to gain this fresh distinction from the monthly publication Marie Claire’s Think Tank Act for Equality, whose members include the Great Place to Work body, in cooperation with the Connecting Leaders Club.

 

One of our key initiatives – our sponsorship and patronage policy

We have supported the ROC VTT OZ EN OISANS club since 2013, and worked alongside the club since then to launch the DORVAL AM Competition Team both for downhill and trial mountain biking. Spurred on by the values of commitment, vision, agility and clarity that are shared by both Dorval AM and this high-performance sport, the Dorval AM Competition Team has successfully climbed into a very strong position in both mountain biking disciplines.

The competition team displays strong gender diversity, with both our women’s and men’s teams boasting outstanding achievements i.e. European women’s champion and vice-champion, and European men’s champion and vice-champion in downhill mountain biking, as well as the French women’s champion and the French men’s champion for trial.

 

 

Please contact our responsible investment coordinators Laurent Trulès and Tristan Fava (by phone 01 83 75 81 37 or by email surname.name + @dorval-am.com) for further details and with any questions on responsible investment at Dorval AM and our approach.

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