Skip to main content

Thematic Stewardship Programmes

Engage on the most important ESG themes


Sustainalytics’ Stewardship Services is where ESG insights become action. Stewardship includes engagement and voting recommendations, and  provides a framework, support and direction for investors to integrate ESG and sustainable investment considerations into every stage of the investment lifecycle. Engagement and voting recommendations are effective drivers for enacting broad and meaningful change. 

Whether the focus is on biodiversity, human rights, good governance, or other sustainability topics, Morningstar Sustainalytics’ Thematic Stewardship Programmes protect and promote long-term enterprise value by proactively engaging with companies up and down the value chain as well as industry stakeholders to mitigate systemic risks and maximize opportunities.  

The stewardship programmes are designed to empower investors with constructive and change-focused engagement activities to address pressing ESG themes that are most material to investors. Our engagement toolbox includes activities such as conference calls, field trips, multistakeholder roundtables, and participatory webinars to influence change. By combining our internal subject-matter and engagement expertise with our clients’ deep knowledge of the issuers and long-term ownership stakes, we aim to enact lasting change.  


Key Features and Benefits


Six Thematic Stewardship Programmes

Investors can select up to six programmes. They are:  

  • Biodiversity and Natural Capital 
  • Net Zero Transition 
  • Sustainability and Good Governance 
  • Human Capital Management 
  • Scaling Circular Economies 
  • Human Rights Accelerator



Concerted Escalation 

Constructive dialogue is our first and always preferred engagement tool. Still, if an issuer is unresponsive to dialogue outreach or is not making significant progress, the Sustainalytics team can escalate the engagement. This approach aims to mount investor concerns via a series of steps to encourage an open and transparent exchange. Persistent unwillingness to engage will result in an engagement status update in the company profile to inform investors of this stalled engagement. 


Leverage Case Profiles to Track and Measure Engagement Progress 

Utilize our rich database of real-time case information to improve engagement dialogues and to identify best practices for key ESG issues. Leverage a standardized Outcomes-based approach and Milestones to measure engagement progress. 


Report  to Stakeholders 

Sustainalytics’s Stewardship Services provides structured, extractable data that can readily be reported out to stakeholders. Quarterly and Annual reports are also distributed to all clients.  

Join one or more of the Following Stewardship Programmes 

Become part of one or more of our ongoing programmes, which target 50+ issuers. 


Six Programmes  


Human Capital Management

Morningstar Sustainalytics’ Human Capital Management Stewardship Programme aims to address the readiness gap of companies to respond to workplace transformations caused by emerging trends to ensure competitiveness in the future and reduce inequalities in the workforce and society. It promotes better management, measurement, and disclosure of data and information about talent management strategies that maximize performance with a healthy, engaged, and productive workforce in line with evolving trends.


Scaling Circular Economies

Scaling Circular Economies emphasizes the shift towards a circular economy and efficient resource management. By engaging with companies across targeted value chains, we aim to promote strategies that seek circular solutions that are adapted to companies’ business models and geared to supporting financial performance.


Biodiversity and Natural Capital

Morningstar Sustainalytics’ Biodiversity and Natural Capital Stewardship Programme addresses the complexity and interlinkages of biodiversity loss and climate change, to assess double-materiality, protect and promote long-term value, and capitalize on opportunities and generate systemic impact.


Net Zero Transition

Morningstar Sustainalytics’ Net Zero Transition Engagement Programme supports institutional investors in advancing their net zero stewardship ambitions by establishing an effective climate-focused dialogue with high-emitting companies on their journey to net zero carbon emissions.


Human Rights Accelerator (Stewardship Programme Begins in 2025)

The Human Rights Accelerator thematic engagement launched in 2022, and will be replaced by an enhanced Human Rights Accelerator Stewardship Programme at its completion in 2025. This two-pager walks through the activities in 2024 that will inform the development of the future-state Human Rights Accelerator Stewardship Programme.


Sustainability and Good Governance

Morningstar Sustainalytics’ Sustainability and Good Governance Stewardship Programme focuses on promoting sustainable business practices, effective governance structures, and accountability mechanisms. It will leverage insights of forward-thinking boards and investors to advance stakeholder-focused governance practices, which support resilience and sustainability across portfolios and markets.

Running Themes that are Open for Participation


Human Rights Accelerator

This thematic engagement aims to improve the adoption of globally agreed corporate standards for managing and promoting human rights, as defined by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and mirrored in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Specific areas of focus will be encouraging companies to commit to respect human rights, incorporate relevant due diligence processes and establish operational-level grievance mechanisms.


Climate Change – Sustainable Forests and Finance

It is estimated that a tipping point caused by deforestation of the Amazon could be reached at a forest-cover loss of between 20 and 40 percent. This thematic engagement will address climate risk and advocate for reductions in direct and indirect emissions in the context of global forest systems.


Feeding the Future

Agriculture is estimated to account for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 80 percent of deforestation, 70 percent of water use and 78 percent of ocean and freshwater pollution. This engagement theme aims to contribute to a more sustainable trajectory for the future of food.

Delivery Options 

global access platform in laptop

Global Access

Sustainalytics’ user-friendly investor interface provides full insight into a company’s engagement profile, overall ratings and dialogue. It also includes engagement manager commentary on the case, next steps and upcoming meetings.

Learn More
data services icons in desktop computer

Data Services

Basic data points can be delivered as a standard portfolio report in Excel or as a data feed.

Learn More

Why Sustainalytics?


A Single Market Standard

Consistent approach to ESG assessments across the investment spectrum.


Award-Winning Research and Data

Firm recognized as Best ESG Research and Data Provider by Environmental Finance and Investment Week.


End-to-End ESG Solutions

ESG products and services that serve the entire investment value chain.


30 Years of ESG Expertise

800+ ESG research analysts across our global offices.


A Leading SPO Provider

As recognized by Environmental Finance and the Climate Bonds Initiative.

Related Insights and Resources

The Stockholm Stewardship Roundtable: A Practitioner’s Notes on Managing Investor Engagement Today

As concerns about greenwashing grow, investors focus on ensuring their portfolio companies uphold sustainability pledges and generate long-term value. Active ownership through strategic engagement is pivotal in driving sustainable practices.

Cityscape Zurich Switzerland

The Swiss Stewardship Code: 4 Insights for Engagement Managers Globally

The Swiss Stewardship Code offers insights for investors everywhere on how they should engage with their portfolio companies. Read on to discover key considerations for this increasingly popular investment approach.

Gloved hand holding clump of oil sand

Lines in the Sand: How Canada’s Oil Sands Companies Can Pave Their Way to Net Zero

Post-COP 28 countries have agreed to an orderly transition away from fossil fuels. This article explores what that could look like for Canada’s oil and gas producers.

SDGs and ESG: Why the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Should Top Every Boardroom Agenda

The world is failing to achieve the UN Sustainable Development goals, with just 15% of targets on track. In this article, we explore the role of SDGs in developing sustainability objectives and how boards of directors can make progress on their targets.

Related Solutions 


Impact Solutions

Measure, manage and report on the social and environmental impact of your portfolio.

Learn More

Material Risk Engagement

Engage on the most material ESG risks identified by the ESG Risk Ratings.

Learn More

Global Standards Engagement

Engage with companies that breach international norms and standards as identified by our Global Standards Screening research.

Learn More