Nuveen, the investment management arm of TIAA, has filled a new position designed to oversee stakeholder engagement on its real assets investments, according to the 2017 Responsible Investing in Farmland report posted on the firm’s website last week.
As head of sustainability and client engagement, Sanaz Raczynski is tasked with centralizing supervision of sustainability initiatives, exploring new ways to communicate progress on key issues and increasing engagement with external stakeholders across the real assets portfolio, according to the report.
In addition to agriculture, TIAA’s real assets platform also invests in timberland, energy and infrastructure investments.
“Already, over the past several months, Ms. Raczynski has engaged with several stakeholder groups (industry peers, investors, NGOs farmers and others) to discuss opportunities for improvement in the coming months,” portfolio manager for agriculture investments Justin Ourso wrote in the report’s introduction. “Ms. Raczynski hopes to continue expanding outreach efforts and collaboration with stakeholders to collectively advance sustainability practices.”
According to her LinkedIn profile, New York-based Raczynski assumed her current role in October, after two years as head of business management and chief of staff for TIAA Asset Management. Previously, she held strategy and corporate development, chief of staff and investor relations positions with Voya Financial and equity research positions with Calyon Securities and Bank of America, according to the profile.
The five guidelines that will frame Raczynski’s sustainability efforts are: promoting environmental sustainability, respecting labor and human rights, respecting existing land and resource rights, upholding high business and ethical standards and reporting on activities and progress toward implementing and promoting the guidelines.
The report says those guidelines grew out of TIAA’s 2011 participation as member of a group developing Principals for Responsible Investment in Farmland as part of the UN’s Principals for Responsible Investment and are designed as a guide for institutional investors considering farmland investments.
“Recently, stakeholder concern has primarily concentrated on three main issues: transparency, engagement with external stakeholders and our investments in Brazil,” wrote Ourso, who counted Ms. Raczynski’s hire as among key developments of 2016 for the firm. “We welcome positive engagement with the NGO community to discuss and evaluate ways for us to improve our transparency.”