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The events of 2020 have highlighted the need to address ESG issues as a matter of urgency. 

Stewardship hands reaching out
Stewardship hands reaching out

At WMPF we have shown leadership in development of Responsible Investment (RI) and Stewardship practices - as a founding authority within the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) established in the early 1990s and more recently through early adoption of reporting in line with the recommendation of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) since 2017. WMPF is a longstanding advocate of collaborative engagement and aims to protect and enhance asset values over the long term through increasing dialogue, transparency, and disclosure. We utilise scale to influence, build partnerships and demonstrate value for money by integrating consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into our investment beliefs, strategy, selection and ongoing stewardship practices.

Through our Responsible Investment Framework we support active stewardship and engagement and seek positive change to protect and enhance the Fund's assets, ensuring they deliver the investment returns to support the payment of members' pension benefits. We define the concept of stewardship in line with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), in that "Stewardship is the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital to create long-term value for clients and beneficiaries leading to sustainable benefits for the economy, the environment and society".

In April 2022 the Fund submitted its second pdf icon WMPF Annual Stewardship Report 2022 [13Mb](ASR) to the FRC. The ASR provides an overview the Fund's approach to stewardship and the efforts taken to ensure that the Fund practices stewardship at the highest level both in our own operations and throughout our investment chain. It covers each of the 12 principles of the UK Stewardship Code 2020 grouped into four categories: Purpose and Governance, Investment Approach, Engagement and Exercising Voting Rights and Responsibilities.

Through annual review and ongoing development our approach and policies continues to evolve, as does the network we engage and tools we utilise to communicate and advocate an increased pace of action by companies, industries, governments, policy makers and society to build and maintain a sustainable economy, environment and society.

We expect that our ASR will both inevitably, and desirably, evolve as ESG tools and data availability advance, and the understanding of the complex issues, evident in practical and academic research, improves. The Fund is proud of the outcomes and effective actions that it was able to demonstrate within its first ASR and expect our approach to continue to evolve as we continue to engage in collaboration with key partners to drive our common ambition to build sustainable futures for all.






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