The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute will host a webinar on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1 PM ET to review the findings of a new study that finds environmental and social (E+S) shareholder proposals are gaining increased voting support from investors at U.S. public companies. From 2005-2011, average support for these proposals more than doubled, from about 10 to more than 20 percent.
The new study, Key Characteristics of Prominent Shareholder-sponsored Proposals on Environmental and Social Topics, 2005-2011, was released by IRRCi. Ernst & Young LLP was the primary research entity for, and the primary contributor to, the report.
The study finds three characteristics appear to be connected with highly prominent environmental or social shareholder proposals:
- Targeting. Proposals at companies where investors raise concerns over board performance received higher voting support. This reflects not only investor-perceived concerns over the related E+S issue, but also a perceived need for other governance-related change.
- Timing. Proposals connected to current events gain prominence from their association with the headline-making events and/or related attention. Proposals also gain prominence if related to ongoing trends and developments in the regulatory, legislative and global arenas, as well as among industry-specific peers and “leading companies,” as defined by proponents.
- Sponsor. Prominent proposals tend to be associated with, and supported by, two types of proponents: (1) “Socially Responsible Investors” (SRI), defined as institutions which explicitly state that they seek both investment returns and social impact, and (2) public pension funds. These investors play a leading role in shaping the shareholder proposal-and by extension, the engagement-landscape. By contrast, proposals submitted by special interest groups or individuals tend to receive lower levels of support.
The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute is a not-for-profit organization established in 2006 to provide thought leadership at the intersection of corporate responsibility and the informational needs of investors. IRRCi ensures its research is available at no charge to investors, corporate officials, academics, policymakers, the media, and all interested stakeholders.
Reserve your space and mark your calendar.