Engagement: ‘Be clear about what you can achieve’

Claudia Wearmouth, Columbia Threadneedle global head of responsible investment, discusses managing expectations when it comes to engagement

Claudia Wearmouth


Natasha Turner

Investing responsibly, and understanding the impact investments can have on people and the environment, is no easy task. But it’s navigating this complexity that has kept Claudia Wearmouth in this field for more than 15 years.

Wearmouth started her career at a startup charity, New Philanthropy Capital, analysing the impact of charitable giving, before making the switch to asset management and responsible investment. She joined then-F&C in 2007, screening investments for ethical funds as part of maternity cover, and is now global head of responsible investment.

“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it with their eyes closed,” she says.

“Understanding how complex and intertwined issues are is what gets me out of bed. I also want to be a good role model for my four young girls – I want them to look up to me and see that I’m trying to do my bit to channel money into sustainable development.”

Wearmouth does her bit by running a team of 40 responsible investment experts, whose analysis is used by investment teams across the firm. They have spent “an awful lot of time” working on a global proxy voting policy that has just had its first year of use and of which Wearmouth says she is very proud.

As an example, Columbia Threadneedle voted for a shareholder proposal at Honeywell last year requesting the company report on climate lobbying, and environmental and social due diligence.

Read the full article in ESG Clarity’s November 2023 digital magazine.

Latest Stories