February 2022 Advisory Committee Meeting Summary

The Advisory Committee met in February 2022 to discuss a range of stewardship issues. Firstly, the members welcomed Lisa Stonestreet, Head of Communications & Charity Impact at EIRIS, onto the committee.

Fund manager and Partner, David Elton, then presented on the B.E.S.T Sustainable Smaller Companies Fund. He outlined the B.E.S.T process and the team’s approach to finding new investment ideas. David also provided an overview on both new additions to the fund and recent engagement with holdings on diversity and governance.

Next the committee heard from an external speaker, Matt Finch, UK Policy Manager at Transport & Environment (T&E), on the development of hydrogen and potential uses within the UK market. He explained the forms of hydrogen production and the likely use cases for hydrogen within commercial settings in the future.

The committee also reflected on the outcomes of the global summit on climate change, COP 26. Members noted that while the conference fell short of expectations, there was some progress in terms of bilateral agreements and civil society collaboration.

The next agenda item was to consider Castlefield’s net zero target, which commits the firm to making its own operations and supply chain net zero by 2030. This is accompanied by an ambition to achieve net zero in its investment portfolio by 2040. The committee also reviewed the changes that the Castlefield team had made to its voting guidelines for the 2022 voting season.

Committee members then discussed some ideas for future ESG topics for discussion and requested papers on succession planning and inclusion for the next meeting.

Under the “AOB” agenda item, members requested more information on specific holdings. They also asked about Castlefield’s response to government policy proposals on sustainability disclosure requirements.