We value the essential contribution our capital providers make to our success and prosperity, allowing us to pursue a long-term oriented, purpose-led, performance-driven 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. We see the focus of our capital providers increasingly moving beyond returns on financial capital and including considerations of environmental, human and social impact in their decisions.
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 such as our Investor Days, participation in (virtual) investor conferences and by organizing (virtual) 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, biodiversity, governance, sustainability in supply chain management, human rights, inclusion and diversity, and responsible taxation.
Updating investors on our strategic progress
During 2021, we continued to update the market on our progress against our strategic targets and sustainability ambitions and the progress of our large sustainability-driven innovation projects.
We focused our reporting on giving full integrated disclosure on financial and non-financial performance at half-year and full year, while limiting first-quarter and third-quarter reporting to a trading update. This reflects the consideration of long-term value drivers which are critical to the success of our company.
Due to COVID-19, the financial markets continued to be impacted by uncertainty and volatility during 2021. We intensified direct virtual contact with our investors in order to keep them all informed about business conditions how we were managing COVID-19, and its effects on our operations.
At our half-year reporting, we made a deeper dive into how we can make farming more sustainable. In September, we presented the re-alignment of our organization as a Health, Nutrition & Bioscience company and outlined how we can make a positive impact on planet, people and livelihoods via our Food System Commitments, which are linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2021, our Investor Relations program was ranked number one in its sector by Institutional Investor Research and received highest recognition for its investor communication, responsiveness to the capital markets, business and market know-how, authority and credibility, virtual roadshow program, virtual investor event and quality of earning calls.
Engaging with the market about purpose and ESG
Purpose and profit go hand in hand at DSM, which has been demonstrated by a continuing strong performance in terms of both financial and non-financial metrics. In 2021, 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 investor initiatives including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Future-Proof Business and the FCLT (Focusing Capital to the Long Term), in their ‘Multi-stakeholder in practice’ project, encouraging a longer-term focus in business and investment decision-making.
We are committed to staying ahead in sustainability reporting and ensuring we report against new and future requirements of regulating authorities including the EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan, EU Green deal, EU Taxonomy, EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). We emphasize the need to make reporting metrics uniform, comparable and auditable.
We continued our engagement with leading ESG Ratings and Benchmarks advisors to the financial sector, including Sustainalytics, MSCI, Moody’s-Vigeo and ISS-ESG.
In 2021, we saw an increased focus in our engagement dialogues on nature and biodiversity, as well as social topics including human rights, inclusion and diversity.
We again saw the number of direct engagements between investors and DSM on ESG topics, including SDG impact, increase in 2021. ESG has become part of the regular agenda of our investor meetings. 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 our investor’s investment processes.
At the end of 2021, 87% of our shares held by institutional investors were held by signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI investors) and 17% of our outstanding shares at institutional investors were in dedicated sustainability funds.