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Company engagement: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

This quarter, we escalated our engagement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) on board gender diversity. We contacted TSMC in 2021 as part of our targeted outreach to 24 key companies with insufficient board diversity. Following our initial letter to the Chair, we received a response highlighting the company’s awareness of investors’ focus on gender diversity, and indicating that diversity of the Board was a key consideration when evaluating director candidates.

However, following the company’s 2022 AGM, there was no measurable improvement, with only one female board director in place. Furthermore, this director had already served on the board for eleven years, potentially setting off alarm bells around independence given her length of tenure. We therefore wrote to the Chair in July 2022, strongly expressing our concerns and communicating that we would like to see progress before the next director elections.

The Board Chair responded that TSMC “…will take these into consideration for our planning for the upcoming 2024 Board elections.”. We will continue to actively monitor their performance in this area.

Company engagement: Amazon.com

As one of the largest listed companies in the world, Amazon is surprisingly difficult to engage with. Despite several efforts to correspond with the board, both bilaterally and part of broader investor coalitions, we have even found it difficult to gain access to the board and have only been able to speak with Investor Relations. This is troubling because we have identified several areas of concern that we believe the board needs to hear from shareholders on.

Following several months’ worth of email exchanges, and our focused voting at Amazon’s AGM in May this year[1], we had a call with Investor Relations in July. We had six items on the agenda:

  1. Data privacy & security
  2. Worker safety and labour rights
  3. Tax transparency
  4. Circular economy and pollution
  5. Competition/Fair play
  6. Auditor rotation

On two of them, data privacy & security and fair play, the company was reluctant to provide comments because of ongoing investigations by the European competition authorities. On the last item on our list, we received pushback: Amazon is not planning auditor rotation in the near future. However, we did have a meaningful discussion on items 2, 3 and 4.

On worker safety, we raised concerns about the gaps in Amazon’s Safety Report and our views about the need for more comprehensive safety indicators including injury rates by type of jobs and geography. There are advanced safety measures in place, such as safety vests that are embedded with intelligent chips, and AI-based camera technologies. If these prove effective, Amazon and its shareholders should benefit from enhanced disclosure. We also suggested increasing transparency around employee satisfaction rates and the effects of grievance mechanisms that are in place. We also articulated our opinion that protecting the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining would present an opportunity for better management of human- and labour-rights-related risks.

On the subject of tax transparency, we discussed the consequences of 2021’s regulatory changes, including a new agreement on adhering to the OECD framework for global tax reform, which will involve a minimum 15% tax rate for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) from 2023 and a new EU directive requiring all large MNEs to publish country-by-country reporting (CbCR). We also discussed the 2022 Amazon shareholder resolution which requested that Amazon publish a tax transparency report aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative standard. We supported it, and we are engaging with other investors as part of the PRI Tax Reference Group. Amazon seems to be receptive to the idea of CbCR, yet reluctant to commit to adopting a formal global standard.

On item 4, circular economy and pollution, we discussed the steps Amazon has taken to bring down plastics usage in packaging. We asked for better disclosure on how much plastic is still being used, the extent of the reduction in absolute terms, and what percentage of plastics gets recycled after use. This would give investors a chance to quantify progress towards Amazon’s goal of making all of its packaging recyclable. At the 2022 AGM, Sarasin supported a shareholder resolution which requested that Amazon report on efforts to reduce plastic use, which received 49% of votes. We are particularly interested in seeing better quantitative disclosures related to these efforts.

Company engagement: Weyehaeuser's net zero strategy

Following a long-standing engagement with Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest timberland management company, over recent months we have seen the firm announce a 2040 Net Zero commitment and receive Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi)-approval for its medium-term emission targets. Weyerhaeuser has also demonstrably pivoted its business strategy to focus on monetising the value it brings to society through both the forest-based carbon sequestration it is able to deliver, but also its provision of a low-carbon construction material.

This marks a shift from the board’s historical reluctance to emphasise these environmental benefits, relegating them to its ‘corporate responsibility’ activities, rather than a future value driver. With this shift, and following a meeting with the CEO and CFO in our offices this quarter, we have upgraded their climate change rating internally, classifying them as a 1.5°C-aligned business. Please see our assessment summarised in the table below.

NZAM criteriaComment
Climate/NZ commitment by 2050Yes – Net Zero by 2040 published on Climate Pledge website Jan 2022 . This currently excludes carbon sinks due to accounting complexities, but they estimate these make them net negative today (Carbon Record: company removed net 14 million metric tons of CO2e from the atmosphere between 2020 and 2021).
Medium and short-term targets – SBTi-alignmentYes – Reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 42% and scope 3 emissions by 25% per tonne of production by 2030 . SBTi-approved as 1.5°C aligned
Governance and Risks disclosure – TCFD & climate accounting
Partial – TCFD reports have been published since 2019. Weyerhaeuser now includes scope 3 emissions targets for 2030.

Financial statements lack any reference to how climate considerations have been included.
Credible transition plan Yes – Carbon emission reduction goals embedded in new strategy published in Sept 2021, which underlines a new Natural Climate Solutions Business led by former CFO
Capex alignmentYes – Natural Climate Solutions business now a core part of strategy with associated capex

Looking forward, we will continue to monitor and support Weyerhaeuser’s delivery of its strategy, press for improved climate-related accounting disclosures and seek better disclosure on its physical risks, which could have a profound impact on the business.

[1] At the 2022 AGM, to highlight its concerns with Amazon’s ESG performance, Sarasin voted Against three Amazon’s directors based on remuneration, audit and independence concerns and Against auditor EY and executive compensation. We supported 7 out of 14 SHRs and Abstained on one.

[2] https://www.weyerhaeuser.com/sustainability/3by30/climate-change-solutions/; https://www.theclimatepledge.com/us/en/Signatories/weyerhaeuser

[3] https://investor.weyerhaeuser.com/2021-12-20-Weyerhaeuser-Receives-Highest-Designation-for-Its-Greenhouse-Gas-Reduction-Targets


Important information

All details in this content are provided for information purposes only and should not be misinterpreted as investment advice or taxation advice.

This content has been issued by Sarasin & Partners LLP which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC329859 and is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.  It has been prepared solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation, or an offer to buy or sell any security.  The information on which the content is based has been obtained from sources that we believe to be reliable, and in good faith, but we have not independently verified such information and we make no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to their accuracy.  All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice.

Please note that the prices of shares and the income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. This can be as a result of market movements and also of variations in the exchange rates between currencies.  Past performance is not a guide to future returns and may not be repeated.

Neither Sarasin & Partners LLP nor any other member of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group accepts any liability or responsibility whatsoever for any consequential loss of any kind arising out of the use of this content or any part of it.  The use of this content should not be regarded as a substitute for the exercise by the recipient of his or her own judgment.  Sarasin & Partners LLP and/or any person connected with it may act upon or make use of the material referred to herein and/or any of the information upon which it is based, prior to publication of this content.  If you are a private investor you should not rely on this content but should contact your professional adviser.

© 2022 Sarasin & Partners LLP – all rights reserved.  This content can only be distributed or reproduced with permission from Sarasin & Partners LLP.

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The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

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This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for Irish residents who are:

  • investment professionals;
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It is not for distribution outside Ireland and should not be relied upon by private investors. It is not available for access by US Nationals

Residents of the United States of America and Hong Kong are not permitted to access the website of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group of companies according to legal restrictions imposed by their respective jurisdictions. This will also apply to all other jurisdictions where similar restrictions exist.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than Ireland.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for UK residents only and not for distribution outside the UK. If you are not a UK resident, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for UK resident charity only and not for distribution outside the UK. If you are not a UK resident charity, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for UK residents who are:

  • investment professionals;
  • our product distributor partners; or
  • regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by private investors. It is not available for access by US Nationals

Residents of the United States of America and Hong Kong are not permitted to access the website of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group of companies according to legal restrictions imposed by their respective jurisdictions..This will also apply to all other jurisdictions where similar restrictions exist.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for UK residents who are:

  • investment professionals;
  • our product distributor partners; or
  • regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by private investors. It is not available for access by US Nationals

Residents of the United States of America and Hong Kong are not permitted to access the website of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group of companies according to legal restrictions imposed by their respective jurisdictions..This will also apply to all other jurisdictions where similar restrictions exist.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for South African residents only and not for distribution outside South Africa. If you are not a South African resident, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for South African residents who are:

  • investment professionals;
  • our product distributor partners; or
  • regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside South Africa and should not be relied upon by private investors. It is not available for access by US Nationals

Residents of the United States of America and Hong Kong are not permitted to access the website of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group of companies according to legal restrictions imposed by their respective jurisdictions. This will also apply to all other jurisdictions where similar restrictions exist.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

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