What we do
Through data-driven analysis, Universal Owner helps investors to engage more effectively with companies around climate
The current situation
The status quo will lock the global economy into high emitting infrastructure and business models for decades. The Paris Agreement and net-zero emissions pledges have achieved much in setting up a path towards a sustainable future, yet it is now evident that change is required at an even greater pace. In order to decrease global warming to below the IPCC’s target of 1.5°C.
Within the financial system, institutional investors act as the intermediaries between individual investors and companies. These entities play a central role in global economic affairs, managing an enormous share of the world’s market capitalisation. Through engaging with companies, proposing resolutions, and proxy voting, they have a unique capacity to use their power to transition the economy in line with the science of climate change.
The problem
The academic literature is clear that shareholder engagement is the most reliable mechanism for investors seeking to change company behaviourDespite the success of climate-motivated investor coalitions such as Climate Action 100+, the path towards effective investor engagements on climate is fraught with challenges. Retail investors lack shareholder representation, investors align too readily with company interests, and a culture of incrementalism prevails.
However, there is a more fundamental problem at play: investors and civil society care deeply about engaging successfully with their investee companies, but we have no clear theory about how to measure the efficacy of an environmental engagement. Without a robust set of metrics for defining engagement success, substantiated through data and analysis, there is no way to guide investor action, compare investors’ climate credentials, or hold investors to account when they fall short. Universal Owner's goal is to correct this flaw in the market.
The objective
The objective is to work with asset managers and asset owners to mainstream the practice of auditing stewardship activities. This process will help the market to adopt best practices, which will translate through to company and real-world impact. 
We have developed a unique framework to measure engagement impact, which we will apply to a range of sectors and regions. Our launch report assessing utility company engagement will be released in January 2021. These public reports are essential to our mission of improving the impact of all investor engagement, through disseminating knowledge on how is effective stewardship is achieved.