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September 3, 2013 / franteplitz

Shareholder Support for Social & Environmental Issues Grows

socially responsible investingGood news on the shareholder education and action front! As reported in August, shareholder votes in favor of social and environmental resolutions in the 2013 proxy season marked a ten-year high, receiving 21% support on average. These resolutions constituted a third of all the resolutions filed; the remaining two-thirds addressed corporate governance issues.

The 21% support for social and environmental resolutions, which usually receive less support than corporate governance resolutions, is important to correcting corporate conduct. In order to be resubmitted for consideration by shareholders in the following year, resolutions need to receive at least 3% support in their first year, at least 6% in their second year, and at least 10% in their third year of facing a vote. Current vote trends bode very well for keeping crucial social and environmental issues in front of investors and in front of corporate management. Indeed, there were fourteen social and environmental resolutions that received at least 40% support in the 2013 shareholder season – including proposals addressing carbon pollution and energy efficiency.

Green America’s Shareholder Resolution Focus Lists highlighted a wide range of resolutions, including votes on energy and climate-related issues, banking, GMOs, toxics, human rights, corporate lobbying, and other investor concerns. The chart above shows how many of the resolutions we highlighted ultimately came to a vote. Resolutions that were withdrawn represent progress in the dialogue process that generally precedes the filing of a resolution. If the resolution filer believes the company is making moves in the right direction, the filer may withdraw the resolution for now, and see whether progress at the company continues.

If you own direct company stock that makes you a part owner of that company. Vote your proxies each year to alert management to your concerns and to push the company toward better practices. The main proxy season is in the spring – Green America will remind you and will bring key votes to your attention!

Thanks to the Sustainable Investments Institute for the chart on Green America’s Shareholder Resolution Focus List. 

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