Shareholders filed 72 resolutions about climate change so far this year, a drastic jump from the 26 filed two years ago, according to the US SIF Foundation report on shareholder advocacy released recently.
Shareholder engagement for sustainable and responsible investing is growing by leaps and bounds, as the climate change resolutions illustrate, according to advisors who work with clients interested in making a positive impact on the world through their investing.
The issues that receive attention worldwide generate the most resolutions from shareholders who want to prompt companies to change their policies, according to Mark Peters, principal at Federal Street Advisors in Boston, Mass., which advises high-net-worth individuals.
“Shareholder engagement has been well represented by environmental issues and climate change recently, as well as political contributions and executive compensation,” Peters says. “We work with clients to fulfill their values objectives, as well as their return objectives.”
Shareholders concerned about the environment negotiated a number of commitments from target companies to disclose and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over the last couple of years, the US SIF Foundation report says.
On Tuesday, Exxon Mobil shareholders Arjuna Capital/Baldwin Brothers Inc. and As You Sow filed a shareholder proposal asking Exxon Mobil to increase dividends or share buybacks rather than invest in costly new oil fields, Arjuna Capital/Baldwin Brothers Inc. and As You Sow announced. The proposal is one of the first times shareholders have asked a company to return capital in light of climate change risks, the two say.