The British Columbia Investment Management Corp. is touting its 2019 environmental, social and governance successes in its annual ESG report.

Some highlights from the year include that it finalized the introduction of a new corporate-wide ESG strategy including priorities and procedures for ESG reviews across all asset classes.

As part of the strategy, the BCI’s public markets team completed ESG reviews of 173 companies, an increase of 170 per cent compared to 2018. Working with others, the organization also participated in 11 collaborative engagement initiatives, covering 1,188 companies, which is an increase of 203 per cent compared to the previous year.

“Integration of environmental, social and governance matters is an essential part of what we do and who we are at BCI. It is integral to our analysis — both before and after making an investment,” said Jennifer Coulson, vice-president of ESG in public markets at the BCI, in a press release. “The 2019 ESG annual report demonstrates how BCI, in method and practice, continues to prioritize ESG matters, with the expectation that our efforts will lead to greater stability and integrity within the financial system.”

On the executive compensation front, the BCI assessed more than 1,500 management proposals and voted against 46 per cent of them.

“The events that shaped the beginning of 2020 have only served to reinforce our commitment to driving sustainable growth for the benefit of our clients and beneficiaries for generations to come,” said Gordon Fyfe, chief investment officer of the BCI, in the report. “The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any crisis we have experienced in our lifetime, transforming social routines and delivering a shock to global economies. As an institutional investor with a long-term investment horizon, the crisis further highlights the importance of a disciplined approach and why factoring ESG matters into all our investment decisions is essential to building financially meaningful futures for our clients.”