Our definitions

Clarifying complexity on the path to Sustainable Wealth Creation.

Tree with clouds

How do we define our purpose? What does effective stewardship mean to us? Our definitions on sustainability and investment demonstrate our understanding of concepts driving all that we do.

To reveal the definitions, click on the tiles below.

Posts not found

Active Management

(Also referred to as active investing)

Actively selecting investments based on an investment team’s own judgment, research and experience rather than an asset’s index weighting. An actively managed fund is not a tracker fund.

Hands with a lamp
Active Ownership

(Also referred to as engagement)
Using the rights of influence as financial stakeholders to actively engage companies or assets and other stakeholders to further the long-term interests of end investors. This consists of objective-driven dialogue seeking positive and sustainable change in the purpose, governance, strategy operations and in the impact on the environment and society.

Circle in particles
Active Share

A measure of the percentage of a fund that is invested differently than its benchmark. It expresses how active the fund manager is. (See ‘Active Management’.)


(Also referred to as public policy engagement)

Actively seeking to influence change in public policy in the interests of investors and the wider society by engaging with policymakers, regulators and industry bodies on a range of issues. These include: the financial system and investment industry, corporate governance, business purpose, climate change, inequality and inclusion.

Tree icon
ESG factors
  • Environmental: climate change, natural resource stewardship, pollution, waste and the circular economy.
  • Social: human rights, indigenous people’s rights, child and slave labour, bribery and corruption, inclusion and diversity, health and safety, ethics, conduct and culture.
  • Governance: board composition, succession planning, executive remuneration, minority shareholder rights and protections, and investor stewardship.

Please note, the items listed above for each factor are not exhaustive. They are examples of each factor that are included solely for illustrative purposes.
Hand holding plant
ESG integration

A responsible investing approach which systematically and consequentially integrates financially material ESG factors and engagement insights alongside traditional performance factors in investment analysis and investment decisions.

Posts not found

ESG leaders

(Also referred to as positive screening)

A responsible investing approach which invests in assets with an above-average ESG performance, thereby creating a portfolio with a better ESG performance than the benchmark.

Plant in the ground
Ethical investing

An investment strategy that excludes sectors or behaviours that reflect a set of values including moral or ethical beliefs.

Exclusions policy

An investment firm or team’s policy to exclude investments from specific sectors, business activities and/or behaviours from their investment universe.

Posts not found

Exclusions investing

A responsible investing approach which excludes investments from specific sectors, business activities and/or behaviours from the investment universe.

Impact investing

Purposefully targeting companies which can generate positive social or environmental outcomes in addition to financial gains. Impact investors mainly target investments that are able to provide solutions which make a positive contribution towards the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Responsibility Office: Federated Hermes – International

A hub of expertise that leads and oversees our advocacy positions; works with the Investment Office to ensure that our investment and stewardship teams integrate stewardship and ESG factors in their activities; and holds every department and employee in the firm accountable for applying best practice responsible business policies in governance, client relations, people and supplier management. In doing so, the Responsibility Office keeps our purpose of creating wealth sustainably for our clients and their investors at the centre of everything we do.

SDG icon
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Convened by the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. There are 17 goals, 169 targets, and progress towards these targets are tracked by 232 indicators inherent in the goals.

Chat message
SDG engagement

Engaging with investments (or assets) for positive social and environmental outcomes that support the attainment of the SDGs.

Watering can
SDG investing

Investing in assets with the expressed intention to create a measurable, positive, real-world outcome to support the attainment of specific SDGs and generate superior sustainable financial returns.

Posts not found

Chat message
SDG engagement-driven investing

An investment strategy which identifies SDG-aligned engagement opportunities that enhance long term financial stakeholder value and address a specific societal or environmental need in addition to delivering strong financial returns for investors.

Two hands
Socially responsible investing (SRI)

An investment strategy which excludes sectors or behaviours that reflect an investor’s moral or ethical beliefs; and/or an approach that promotes social or environmental themes in its investments.

Plant in a vase

The role in which investment managers use the rights – if not the obligation – of financial stakeholders to engage with companies or assets to pursue the objective of sustainable wealth creation for investors.

Posts not found

Sustainable Wealth Creation

This is the purpose of investment – to deliver sustainable and superior long-term returns for investors, recognising that meeting the material needs of the environment, workers and society as fundamental factors that support value creation.

Thematic Investing

There are two broad types of thematic investing:

  • Thematic investing (social or environmental):
    An investment approach that promotes specific social or environmental themes, and often allows investors to express their values. It can exclude or target the best ESG performers or invest in the most impactful companies.
  • Thematic investing (megatrends):
    An investment approach that focuses on powerful, long-term global themes or megatrends that are both structural and transformative in nature.
Hand with card

Exercising the rights given to equity holders in companies to vote on business matters and director elections during annual and extraordinary general meetings.

Useful industry terms

Our list of industry terms might help you while browsing our website and product range.

Carbon footprint

A measure of a group, individual or a company’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon pricing

The economic cost of emitting CO2 into the atmosphere, either in the form of a fee per unit of emissions or an incentive for reducing emissions.


An annually held UN conference. The Paris Agreement was negotiated at the 21st conference in 2015.

Corporate governance

The system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is managed, directed and controlled.

Corporate responsibility

A company’s duty to operate in a manner that does not harm the environment or society, and to take responsibility for its actions and their impact on employees, stakeholders and communities.

Fiduciary duty

Fiduciary duties ensure that those who manage other people’s money act in the interests of beneficiaries, rather than serve their own interests.

Green bond

Debt securities which are used to fund projects with environmental benefits.


The act of making a product, service or organisation seem more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

Integrated reporting

Company reporting that integrates both sustainability and financial information in one source.

Paris Agreement

An international accord, agreed at COP 21 in Paris in 2015, that aims to limit the rise in global average temperatures to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

Principles for Responsible Investing

Developed by investors, the six Principles for Responsible Investment are a voluntary and aspirational set of investment principles that offer a set of possible actions for incorporating ESG issues into investment practices.

Proxy voting

A ballot cast by one person on behalf of the others. As many shareholders cannot attend annual and special meetings, companies allow shareholders to cast proxy votes.

Shareholder Rights Directive II

A directive from the European Union that aims to strengthen the position of shareholders and to ensure that decisions are made for the long-term stability of a company.

Social bond

Debt instruments that raise funds for projects with positive social outcomes.

Stewardship codes

Codes that offer guidance on investor engagement and transparency about how investors should exercise their ownership and governance responsibilities. The first stewardship code was introduced in the UK in 2010 and almost all OECD jurisdictions now have national codes or principles.

UN Global Compact

A global corporate sustainability initiative that calls on companies, investors and other participants to align their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.


Badge big

Defining best-practice ESG

Which analytical tools and disciplines separate the best from the rest?

Hands holding a light

Sustainability in action

Looking for authenticity in investing sustainably? Examine our evidence.

Want to know more about our delivery of Sustainable Wealth Creation?