We value the essential contribution our capital providers make to our success and prosperity, allowing us to pursue a long-term oriented, value-creating strategy. This should also lead to a continuous increase of the company’s valuation for the benefit of its shareholders and provide a low risk profile for our debt holders.
Transparent communication with financial markets
We ensure that accurate financial and relevant non-financial information is communicated to the financial markets in a transparent and simultaneous way. All information is made easily accessible to the public via the company website. Besides the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, we also reach out to the financial markets through events like our Investor Days, participation in (virtual) investor conferences and by organizing roadshows. We actively seek engagement with financial advisors who cover DSM on behalf of their financial market clients, such as brokers, credit rating agencies, proxy advisors, shareholder representative organizations, and ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) rating agencies.
Feedback from the financial markets is periodically discussed and assessed by the Managing Board and the Supervisory Board. We highly value the insights gained through these engagements.
We engage with our investors and their representatives on topics such as the SDGs, climate change, governance, sustainability in supply chain management, natural and social capital, and responsible taxation.
Updating investors on our strategic progress
During 2020, we continued to update the market on our progress against our strategic targets as well as the sustainability ambitions and our progress with the large sustainability-driven innovation projects. We provided updates through quarterly conference calls and at various roadshows covering all large investor cities, as well as in conferences, visits from investors and by many telephone and video calls. Due to COVID-19, the financial markets were impacted by uncertainty in the year. DSM intensified the direct virtual contacts with its investors in order to keep them all informed about how DSM has been managing COVID-19 and its impact. Our investor day in November was organized live, in a fully virtual venue.
Engaging with the market on purpose and ESG
Purpose and profit go hand in hand at DSM, which has been demonstrated by a continuing strong performance on both financial and non-financial metrics. In 2020, we actively advocated purpose-driven entrepreneurship among our shareholders. We engaged with investors, including pension funds, to discuss their responsibility in long-term value creation for their customers, but also for the society and the environment their participants live in. We actively participated in various impact investment initiatives including De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) working group on SDG Impact Measurement and the WBCSD.
We engaged with FCLT (Focusing Capital to the Long Term), which works to encourage a longer-term focus in business and investment decision making and whose mission is to motivate business leaders to actively combat short-termism in our financial markets. Our engagement with FCLT emphasizes the need for including non-financial long-term metrics (environmental, societal and governance related) in the investment decisions of investors. In particular, we emphasize the need to make the metrics uniform, comparable and auditable.
We further stepped up our engagement with leading ESG Ratings and Benchmarks advisors to the financial sector, including Sustainalytics, MSCI, Vigeo-Eiris and ISS-ESG.
In 2020, we saw an increased focus in our engagement dialogues on social elements including human rights, diversity and inclusion.
We also saw the number of direct engagements between investors and DSM on ESG topics, including SDG impact, substantially increase in 2020. ESG has become part of the regular agenda of the investor meetings and is no longer a topic solely for the sustainability specialists. Being recognized as a leader in sustainability and at the same time showing continued good financial progress, we were frequently invited for in-depth engagement calls and meetings on how to include — and compare — important non-financial parameters in their investment processes.
At the end of 2020, 53% of our shares held by institutional investors were held by signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI investors) and 9% of our outstanding shares at institutional investors were in dedicated sustainability funds.