2014, time for #engagement in Italy

Italy’s biggest pension fund, Cometa Fondo (Aum of € 8.15 bilion), recently said that the main focus of its Sri action in 2014 will be on engagement. Maurizio Agazzi, managing directof or the fund, affirmed that Cometa will keep on engaging with Chevron along with other international Sri investors. Cometa Fondo subscribed UnPri in 2010

At the end of 2013, another Italian pension fund, Fondo Arco, approved its Guidelines on Socially responsible investment. The fund is going to monitor and assess the listed companies included in its portfolio as to their involvement in a series of controversial businesses/issues: cluster bombs, nuclear weapons, tobacco, human rights violations, lack of compliance with Ilo conventions. The Guidelines, indeed, say that the fund can determine on a case by case basis to promote or not soft and hard engagement actions.

During the 2nd edition of Italian Sri week, in november 2013, the Italian Sif Forum per la finanza sostenibile published the Guidelines on engagement for pension funds.

So, what could all that mean? That engagement isn’t any more an unknown word, if you’re used to be pessimistic or to keep yourself on a low profile. On the contrary, if you’re looking with (great) confidence at the future of Sri in Italy, that engagement has become mainstream (boooom!), or is going to become soon, within the Italian Sri community.

For sure, both Etica Sgr and Fcre – the first is the asset management company launched by the Italian ethical bank, Banca Etica, and has specific Guidelines on shareholder activism; the second is the foundation that Banca Etica yet again promoted – in 2014 will attend several AGMs of Italian listed companies, as they did in 2013 and earlier, to submit a number of Sri and Esg issues and engage with the management.

For sure, too, what Italy still lacks is a coalition of Sri (institutional) investors moving together to promote one or two big Esg issues. That’s not in view in 2014. That’s probably the next big step forward for Italy’s Sri movement to come of age definitely and close the gap with some other European countries, and the Us of course, where Sri-activists play a role in shaping the agenda and trying to build a better world.

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