Engagement and Sustainability

Boston Partners is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Boston Partners’ investment process has always stressed investment in companies with good fundamental characteristics, including sustainability, environmental, social and governance factors.

Boston Partners has a sustainability and engagement team headed by Bill Butterly, who is the Director of Sustainability and Engagement. Other team members include Haley Shaw, ESG research analyst, and Marissa Marandola, who is responsible for Boston Partners proxy voting process.  The team undertakes original research on issuers held in the Boston Partners portfolios regarding various ESG themes including corporate governance, diversity, executive compensation, supplier oversight, environmental footprint, client base and litigation and regulatory matters. This research is shared with the fundamental analyst team for incorporation into investment recommendations.  The Sustainability and Engagement team also undertakes engagement with issuers regarding ESG deficiencies through meetings, calls and correspondence and monitors the issuer’s progress in accepting the team’s recommendations.  The team is also responsible for monitoring the voting of proxies in conjunction with the Governance Committee and for communicating to the issuer Boston Partners’ positions on proxy matters.

The Sustainability and Engagement Team undertakes original research on current or prospective holdings reviewing original source material such as company filings as well as any litigation or regulatory filings.  The team looks at ratings from our affiliate RobecoSAM but only for corroboration of the team’s research.

We undertake original research into issuers looking at issuer documents such as the annual report and corporate responsibility report and any other disclosures as well as an extensive search for any reports or stories about the issuer regarding anything ESG related, for example, any fines or litigation imposed within the preceding few years.   Ultimately, we want to see companies have the following:

  • Corporate Responsibility Report.   The issuer should have an annual corporate responsibility report that meets a recognized reporting format, preferably the G-4 guidelines. The report should address the following:  a. climate change policy; b. greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy and disclosure of GHG emissions measurement; c. corporate governance; d. supply chain management.
  • Supply Chain Management Policy.  The issuer should have a policy on supply chain management that requires each supplier to adhere to certain standards including no child or forced labor; environmental preservation; reasonable work hours; product quality/product contamination; conflict minerals. The supply chain management policy should include some type of periodic audit or the suppliers for compliance with the terms imposed on the suppliers by the policy.
  • CDP. The issuer should be a participant in the CDP, disclosing its carbon usage in accordance with the CDP requirements.
  • Corporate Governance. The issuer should have a code of ethics addressing issues such as bribery and relations with governmental clients and other conflicts of interest.  The issuer should also have an independent chairman and should provide shareholders with the right to call special meetings or to act by consent based upon the request of 10% of the shareholders.
  • Absence of litigation/regulatory actions.  The issuer should not be subject to any material litigation involving any of the ESG considerations currently or within the last 3 years and the issuer should not have been subject to any material fines or other regulatory proceedings within the past 3 years.

In addition to the dialogue between the fundamental analyst team and the companies as described above, the Engagement and Sustainability Team will work with the fundamental analysts to correspond formally with companies regarding ESG/Sustainability issues that Boston Partners believes are important to our clients.  Boston Partners votes proxies for most of its clients and incorporates an ESG/Sustainability consideration into its proxy decisions.  In addition, Boston Partners will address directly with company management Boston Partners’ views on proxy issues where Boston Partners does not support a management position as well as on other ESG matters where Boston Partners considers the issuer deficient.

William G. Butterly, III

General Counsel, Director of Sustainability and Engagement

Mr. Butterly is the General Counsel and Director of Sustainability and Engagement for Boston Partners. He joined the firm in 2005 as Boston Partners' General Counsel, responsible for the firm's legal and compliance matters. Mr. Butterly has recently taken on the role of Director of Sustainability and Engagement, focusing on Boston Partners implementation of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. He has also previously served as the firm's Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Boston Partners, he served as Chief Compliance Officer at General Motors Asset Management. Mr. Butterly began his career with Shearman & Sterling in 1984 where he spent nine years as an Associate in the firm’s Compensation and Benefits Group, which focused on all aspects of ERISA and employment law, particularly prohibited transaction issues, employment law issues and M&A activity. After nine years with the firm, he spent seven years with Lazard Asset Management as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, with responsibility for development of compliance policies, compliance monitoring and GIPS® compliance, supervising a staff of 12. In 2000, he moved to Deutsche Asset Management Americas Institutional Group as General Counsel and a member of the firm’s Investment and New Product Committees, with significant involvement in compliance issues. Mr. Butterly holds a B.A. degree from Connecticut College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa on the basis of junior standing, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Stone Scholar. He has thirty-five years of industry experience.

Marissa Marandola

Senior Compliance Manager

Ms. Marissa Marandola, Esq. is a Senior Compliance Manager and Counsel for Boston Partners and Chief Compliance Officer of Boston Partners Securities, LLC, our limited purpose broker/dealer. She joined the firm in June 2018. Ms. Marandola is also a member of the Boston Partners Sustainability and Engagement team with primary responsibility for proxy voting and proxy voting engagement. Her primary compliance responsibilities are Sales and Marketing Compliance, Broker/Dealer regulatory oversight and employee training. She is a member of the GIPS Committee and the Governance Committee. As part of the Sustainability and Engagement Team, Ms. Marandola manages the proxy voting process on behalf of the Governance Committee, prepares all engagement materials with issuers regarding proxy matters and does original ESG research on issuers held in Boston Partners’ portfolios. Prior to joining Boston Partners, she was a Compliance Analyst, Assistant Vice President, at State Street Global Advisors. She holds the series 7, 24, and 63 registrations. Marissa holds a B.S. degree from Providence College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. Marissa is a member of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island State Bar. She has five years of industry experience.

Haley Shaw

ESG Analyst

Ms. Haley Shaw is a Research Analyst for the Boston Partners Sustainability and Engagement Team. Ms. Shaw is responsible for original ESG/Sustainability research on issuers held in Boston Partners’ portfolios. Prior to joining Boston Partners, Ms. Shaw spent two years with Chatham Partners as a Senior Research Analyst. She is a magna cum laude graduate from Dartmouth College with a degree in History and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She has four years of industry experience.