2017 tipped as a big year for investor activism


Keith Larsen, GreenBiz

via Business Green - 17 March 2017


There have already been more shareholder resolutions related to environmental and social issues filed this year than in 2016, according to an annual review of proxy statements


Amid unprecedented uncertainty about the Trump administration's commitment to environmental and social issues, investors are relying more heavily than ever on companies to take action on initiatives such as addressing climate change, conserving water or reducing waste.


So far in 2017, shareholder resolutions specifically related to social and environmental issues have increased to 430 from 370 resolutions last year, according to Proxy Preview, a joint publication of As You Sow, the Sustainable Investments Institute and Proxy Impact.


According to the report, resolutions related to climate change and political activity underlie much of the shareholder activist sentiment thus far in 2017. Overall, environmental policies were the subject of 26 per cent of the proposals filed, while corporate disclosures related to political activity accounted for 21 per cent of the proposals filed. Suggestions related to human rights (18 per cent), sustainability programs (12 per cent) and diversity (11 per cent) rounded out the top five.


The Proxy Preview provides an overview of environmental, social and sustainable governance resolutions filed in 2017 in preparation for "proxy season," when shareholders of public companies vote on new boards and a range of issues during annual meetings.


"Many companies, especially leaders on environmental and social issues and good corporate governance, are not leaping to end transparency, halt engagements and block shareholder input," said As You Sow CEO Andrew Behar in the report. "Instead, they look to investor advocates to uncover win-win situations that benefit all stakeholders."


The Proxy Preview comes in preparation of "proxy season," which runs from April to June when 90 per cent of all US annual meetings occur and nearly all shareholder resolution voting happens.


Climate resolutions taper ...


A rise in investor activism ...


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