Name: Shama Naqushbandi
Title: Portfolio Manager, Value Creation & Asset Management, Infrastructure & Renewable Resources
ESG topics of interest:
- Climate Change & Energy Transition
- Human Rights & Stakeholder Engagement
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
What motivated you to join the GRESB Foundation Board?
I joined the GRESB Foundation Board because I care about ESG issues and believe in the possibility of a better and more just future. Global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and transition, along with growing demands for a more inclusive economy, serve as a continual reminder of the need for responsible action and the critical role the investment industry plays in paving sustainable pathways.
Having spent the past 15 years advising governments, companies, financial institutions, multilaterals, and development banks on major infrastructure investments, much of my professional and personal satisfaction to date has stemmed from doing business the right way, influencing change for the greater good and working with purpose-driven organizations that hold similar values to my own.
As the leading global sustainability benchmarking tool for real assets, GRESB provides independent ESG performance data and actionable insights that help drive value creation and reduce investment risk. I look forward to working with the GRESB Foundation to contribute to building a purpose-driven economy that focuses on the long-term well-being of all.
How does your organization view ESG and what is your organization’s approach to responsible investing?
AIMCo integrates ESG factors into investment decision-making processes to unlock investment opportunities, mitigate risk, and identify drivers of long-term growth. Our responsible investment strategic priorities are:
- Integrating ESG into the investment process – Consideration of ESG factors enables better-informed investment decisions and supports long-term stakeholder value. The diversified nature of our portfolios requires a tailored approach to manage ESG risks and opportunities across industry sectors, jurisdictions, and strategies.
- Advancing stewardship and advocacy – Acting in our clients’ best interests includes a commitment to be responsible stewards. We endeavor to positively influence corporate behavior through active ownership activities such as proxy voting and engagement. We champion a “voice over exit” philosophy, leveraging our position as investors to positively influence corporate behavior rather than to divest and unnecessarily reduce the investible universe.
- Navigating the transition to the low-carbon economy – AIMCo views climate change as a systemic risk and one of the most pressing issues of our time. Global warming is accelerating, while the window of opportunity for countries to reduce GHG emissions is narrowing. Climate change has the potential to significantly impact asset value and the risk-return profile of many industries, as such we must address climate-related risks and opportunities in our investment strategies.
How does your organization use GRESB and its data?
AIMCo is a co-founder of GRESB Infrastructure and a member of the GRESB Foundation Board, which advises GRESB and governs the GRESB Standards. We use the annual GRESB Assessment for systematic reporting, objective scoring, and benchmarking of the environmental, social, and governance performance of our clients’ direct infrastructure and real estate assets.
Currently, 60% of our direct infrastructure assets and more than 90% of our Canadian real estate assets report to GRESB. GRESB allows us to collect and independently validate, assess, score, and benchmark performance and management of material ESG factors across our infrastructure and real estate investments.
What is next for ESG and what role will organizations like GRESB play going forward?
With increased scrutiny on ESG factors and an evolving regulatory environment alongside concerns of “greenwashing,” there is an imperative to streamline and standardize reporting requirements and standards to promote transparent and comparable disclosure, while at the same time ensuring they remain relevant and context-specific.
As a frontrunner in this space, GRESB will play a key role in helping the investment community navigate this evolving landscape, ultimately enabling a better understanding and assessment of investments risks and opportunities.