Generation Investment Management has hired Edward Mason, who was head of responsible investment at the Church Commissioners of England, as director of engagement and impact reporting.
The hiring of Mason fits with senior partner David Blood’s move to ramp up Generation’s engagement efforts with companies. We are “investing to build a dedicated engagement function which aims to increase the impact of our interactions with portfolio companies,” Blood wrote in his most recent annual letter.
Mason, an 11-year veteran of the Church Commissioners, developed the ethical investment framework for the Church of England’s national investing organizations. As part of that, he led engagement, proxy voting, and ethical screening for the Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board and worked with both external managers and internal staff.
With the Commissioners, Mason has had some notable success, including helping push to get BlackRock to join Climate Action 100+. Climate Action is an investor group trying to get major corporations to take steps to mitigate climate change.
Mason was involved with Exxon, one of the most high-profile climate-related actions in recent years. He led global engagement on climate strategy and disclosure with the oil and gas company since 2015 alongside New York State Common Retirement Fund. In 2017, Mason oversaw efforts to get a shareholder proposal passed that pushed the company to conduct and disclose what’s called a 2-degree scenario analysis, which is recommended by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. The resolution was opposed by the board but backed by shareholders, marking the first time that major shareholders like BlackRock, Vanguard, and J.P. Morgan Asset Management had voted against management at a big oil and gas company on climate change.
Beyond Exxon, Mason also led an engagement effort with Glencore, which ultimately led to a new climate change position statement from the company. Glencore committed to cap its global coal production and align its strategy with the goals of the Paris Agreement.