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Introducing Tools of Change, the 2021 Calvert Engagement Report

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By John WilsonDirector of Corporate Engagement, Calvert Research and Management

Washington - Calvert Research and Management has a long history of supporting the health and sustainability of global markets, and improving investment returns, through its active engagement with corporations.

As a responsible investor, we seek to understand the challenges facing the world today, ascertain how companies are positioned to respond to those challenges and allocate capital in a manner that drives positive change and strengthens the companies in which we invest. As a complement to our research, structured engagement in pursuit of improving environmental and social outcomes — as well as long-term shareholder value — is a core component of our investment approach. Calvert maintains a dedicated team of engagement professionals who use our research to uncover financially material opportunities where a change in a company's environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach could help mitigate risk or take advantage of opportunities more effectively.

Key results of our 2020 engagement

Calvert prides itself on moving beyond rhetoric and generating successful engagement outcomes. Working both on our own and with coalitions, we identified opportunities to use the tools at our disposal to drive positive change. We detail these activities in the recently released 2021 Calvert Engagement Report, Tools of Change. Among the highlights:

Board and executive leadership diversity: In 2019, Calvert engaged with 37 companies that lacked diversity in board and executive leadership. Of these, we filed resolutions in 2020 with six companies that did not respond to our original outreach. Following dialogue with each of these companies, we were able to withdraw our resolutions from all six.

Climate change: In 2020, we added to our efforts to address climate change, emphasizing the utilities and banking sectors. Following our engagement with one company in the electric utilities subindustry, the company has added board members and linked executive compensation to the achievement of renewable energy investment objectives. We continue to meet with the company to monitor its implementation of its climate strategy.

Workforce diversity transparency: Since 1968, companies have been required to report the demographics of their U.S. workforces to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (The EEO-1 Report). The report provides the most detailed perspective on the diversity of a company's workforce, but individual company reports are not available to the public unless the company chooses to disclose them voluntarily. We contacted the top 100 names in the Calvert Indexes to encourage the publication of EEO-1 data. We wrote to the 18 companies that already publish this report, thanking them and asking them to continue doing so. We have engaged with the other 82 to address their concerns and to encourage disclosure.

Bottom line: As a responsible investor, Calvert considers opportunities to improve our position as a shareholder in our portfolio companies and which tools are best suited for driving the positive change we hope to see. We believe that active ownership is essential for improving one's position as a shareowner and, therefore, have made it an integral part of Calvert's approach to Responsible Investing.

The views expressed in these posts are those of the authors and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Eaton Vance disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Eaton Vance are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Eaton Vance strategy. The discussion herein is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. There is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness.