Tag Archives | Calvert

Morningstar Direct Uncovers ESG Hypocrites

Morningstar Direct is planning to offer its clients important voting data. The firm recently published a preview of what I impolitely term ESG hypocrites – funds that advertise themselves as allowing us to invest in our values but then vote proxies against our values.

For example, last week, students around the world participated in a massive #ClimateStrike. Some have called it a tipping point. With BlackRock, Fidelity, TIAA-CREF and Vanguard all offering ESG funds to invest in our values, we must be heading for a low-carbon economy, right? That assessment may be premature. Not all ESG funds are alike.

New Morningstar research – published for Morningstar Direct users – uses Morningstar’s Fund Votes database to examine how ESG funds voted during the 2018 proxy season on climate-related shareholder resolutions. The research reveals a striking difference in voting patterns from funds sponsors by ESG-specialists vs. ESG funds from more traditional, non-ESG fund companies.

Morningstar Direct Findings

A huge positive is that more funds are starting to “get” the importance of ESG, not only as a screening tool for investing but also in casting proxy votes. Morningstar research found votes cast by the largest asset managers across all funds shows a year-on-year increase in support for all climate resolutions voted since 2016. That is certainly good news. Morningstar surveyed 14 resolutions with a positive vote of 40% or higher. Notice the two largest funds, BlackRock and Vanguard, with combined assets under management of $11.5 trillion, are laggards. Changing how they vote would make a significant difference.

Moningstar Fund Votes ESG Trends

ESG funds from BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity Investments, and TIAA- CREF, among others, cast a number of votes that appear to conflict with an ESG mandate, especially for funds specifically aimed at the environment.

ESG votes by Mainstream funds

By way of contrast, among nine fund companies with an long-term ESG focus, not a single vote was cast against climate-change resolutions that garnered more than 40% of the shareholder vote. Asset managers with an ESG orientation unanimously voted for the 14 climate-related resolutions that garnered more than 40% of the shareholder vote across all funds managed.

Votes by SRI asset managers

Underlying Assets

It also might be useful to look at underlying assets. For example, compare holdings of the Trillium P21 Global Equity Fund with BlackRock’s Impact US Equity Fund. BlackRock’s Impact fund contains investments in coal, oil and gas, fossil-fired utilities, etc. They constitute only a small portion of the portfolio but that is enough to get them 0 out of 5 “badges” from Fossil Free Funds. In contrast, Trillium P21 Global Equity Fund wins 5 out of 5 badges.

Research based on Morningstar’s Fund Votes database will help Morningstar Direct clients differentiate ESG hype from ESG reality. The service is likely to increase demand for mainstream fund families to be more consistent in voting and investing within a transparent ESG framework. Traditional SRI funds have been investing and voting ESG concerns for decades. Some, like Calvert, Domini, Pax World, Praxis, and Trillium even announce their votes to the public before annual meetings. Do not expect that from mainstream ESG funds any time soon.

   

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SRI Engagement & Monitoring

SRI engagement and monitoring was a major theme during my first day at the 28th Annual SRI Conference this year (), although my 1st impressions were interrupted by the issuance of SEC SLB 14I, as previously noted. SRI has grown more than 13% a year since 1995 (when I started this blog) and now total over $8.7 trillion in assets. No longer just focused on screening or even ESG, SRI has become a mainstream investment strategy AND it holds the power to address our most pressing societal challenges in a way the public sector simply cannot. Continue Reading →

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Looking for Best SRI Funds? Start Here

Best SRI Funds

Best SRI Funds

After making the decision to apply the principles of SRI investing, many clients embark on the initial step of selecting a core stock fund. Traditional investors have literally hundreds of highly efficient core investment solutions. However, SRI investors aren’t so blessed—which is why I put together this core list of Best SRI Funds.

Best SRI funds need to start out by being financially sustainable. Some fund companies seem to believe that they can rake in higher fees on the backs of well meaning investors. The primary objective of a core fund is to match the market with as little cost drag as possible. Continue Reading →

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United Technologies Corporation: Proxy Score 44

United Technologies CorporationUnited Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX, $UTX) provides high technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries across the world. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on April 25, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked. I voted AGAINST the pay plan, compensation committee and end to cumulative voting – voting with the Board’s recommendations 44% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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NCR Corporation: Proxy Score 33

NCR CorporationNCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR) is a global technology company that provides products and services that enable businesses to connect, interact and transact with their customers. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their virtual-only annual meeting is coming up on April 20, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked. I voted AGAINST the pay plan and compensation committee. I voted FOR proxy access, declassifying the board, the employee stock plan and the auditor – voting with the Board’s recommendations 33% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

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Proxy Access at Apple: Last Day to Vote

Proxy Access at AppleProxy Access at Apple (AAPL) will be one of the most important votes of the proxy season. Will shareholders settle for the board’s recently adopted “lite” version, akin to greenwashing, or will shareholders vote in favor of real proxy access? Boards, investors, and the corporate governance industrial complex are watching in anticipation.  Your opportunity to vote  on this important issue expires TODAY, February 25th at 8:59pm PST (11:59pm EST) if you are using ProxyVote.com.

80% of retail shares aren’t typically voted, so it is almost as if you’ll be voting for five. If you are like me, you may hold Apple ($AAPL) stock in more than one account. Be sure to vote them all. Do it today, unless you will attend the meeting tomorrow. Vote FOR #8, Adopt Proxy Access Right. Continue Reading →

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Qualcomm, Inc (QCOM): Proxy Score 81

Qualcomm IncQualcomm, Inc. (QCOM, $QCOM) is engaged in providing third-generation (3G), fourth-generation (4G) and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm, Inc is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on March 8, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked. I voted AGAINST the Omnibus Stock Plan and Harish Manwani and FOR proxy access. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 81% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value.  Continue Reading →

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Deep Dive on Water Risks & iiWisdom

Water RisksWater risks and and an Internet program from iiWisdom are the subjects of my last notes and photos from attending the Council of Institutional Investors Fall 2015 Conference in Boston. The Deep Dive on Water Risks was hosted by Ceres.

The interactive Internet program from iiWisdom looks to be very handy for finding information contained in corporate proxies. Feel free to post corrections, and additional material relevant to these two topics using the site’s comment feature. Find more posts from the conference on Corporate Governance or on Twitter by searching #CIIFall2015. Continue Reading →

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Procter & Gamble: How I Voted – Proxy Score 56

Procter & GambleProcter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG) provides consumer packaged goods and is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their next annual meeting is October 13, 2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 56% of the time. View Proxy Statement

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Procter & Gamble proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value.   Continue Reading →

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Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act

ICCRThe Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a coalition of 300 investors with assets under management of over $100 billion, Calvert Investments and Christian Brothers Investment Services, commend Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) for her introduction of The Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act of 2015 in the House of Representatives.

The bill was introduced following publication of the State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons report, which called on governments to “set clear expectations for businesses on human rights issues and adopt policies that promote greater transparency and better reporting on anti-trafficking efforts in supply chains.” Continue Reading →

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DigitalGlobe: Proxy Score 33

DigitalGlobeDigitalGlobe Inc (NYSE:DGI) one of the stocks in my portfolio, offers earth imagery products comprising imagery from its constellation of high-resolution satellites, as well as satellite and aerial imagery acquired from third party suppliers. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/26/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the votes of two funds when I checked on 5/15/2015. I voted with Board recommendations 33% of the time. Continue Reading →

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Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI): Proxy Score 50

Scripps NetworksScripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (NYSE:SNI) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. They develop lifestyle-oriented content for television and the Internet with various television and interactive brands. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/12/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the votes of three funds when I checked and voted on 5/5/2015.  I voted with management 50% of the time and assigned Scripps Networks Interactive a proxy score of 50. Continue Reading →

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Kimberly Clark Corp (KMB): Proxy Score 57

Kimberly ClarkKimberly Clark Corp (KMB), which manufactures and markets personal care, consumer tissue, and K-C professional products, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/30/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the vote of four funds when I checked and voted on 4/24/2015. I voted with management 57% of the time and assigned Kimberly Clark a proxy score of 57.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Kimberly Clark 2015 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Coca-Cola Co (KO): Proxy Vote 58

Coca-ColaThe Coca-Cola Co (KO), which primarly manufactures and distributes various nonalcoholic beverages, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/29/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the vote of three funds when I checked and voted on 4/22/2015 (they now have more). I voted with management 58% of the time and assigned Coca-Cola a proxy score of 58.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Coca-Cola 2015 proxy in order to enhance  Continue Reading →

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Bio-Rad Laboratories (BIO): Proxy Score 33

Bio-Rad LaboratoriesBio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (BIO), which manufactures and supplies products and systems used to separate complex chemical and biological materials, as well as to identify, analyze, and purify their components for life science research, healthcare, analytical chemistry, and other markets, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/28/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the vote of two funds when I checked and voted on 4/22/2015. I see CalSTRS voted with management on all issues. I voted with management 33% of the time and assigned Bio-Rad Laboratories a proxy score of 33. Continue Reading →

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Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Proxy Score 44

Johnson & JohnsonJohnson & Johnson (JNJ), which researches, develops, manufactures, and sells various products in the health care field worldwide, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/23/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the vote of three funds when I checked and voted on 4/17/2015.  I voted with management 44% of the time and assigned Johnson & Johnson a proxy score of 44.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Johnson & Johnson 2015 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Green Investing

green investingWhat is Green Investing?

“Green Investing” is the phrase I use to describe the process of aligning your investments with your values, social as well as environmental. Many people don’t know that they own companies in their mutual funds and retirement plans that conflict with their beliefs.

Financial advisors who specialize in this area use different terms to describe what we do: socially responsible investing, ethical investing, sustainable investing and many more. Whatever term we use, most of us would agree there are three key components of green investing: social screening, shareholder activism and community loans.

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Symantec Corporation SYMC: Proxy Score 55

SymantecSymantec Corporation (NASD:SYMC), which provides security, backup, and availability solutions worldwide, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 10/28/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 10/22/2014.  I voted with management 55% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 55.  View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Symantec 2014 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Announcing Proxy Votes Improves Corporate Governance

democracy

Shareowners Upholding Industry

Yesterday, I posted a recent letter to the editor of Pensions & Investments praising their editorial, Winning Over Proxy Voters, which argues that institutional investors have a fiduciary duty to announce their proxy votes in advance of annual meetings, if doing so is likely to influence voters. If institutional investors heed their call, it will speed the development of open client director voting (CDV) and more intelligent proxy votes.

As corporate power grows and the power of government falls, mechanisms to govern corporations become more important. As government power falls, their power to regulate corporations falls as well. Further, as the influence of corporations over governments increases (e.g. lobbying) the will of governments to regulate corporations also falls.  – CHR for Social Responsibility

Historically, most retail shareowners toss their proxies. During the first year under the “notice and access” method for Internet delivery of proxy materials, less than 6% made use of their proxy votes. Those that do vote own disproportionately more shares (about 25-30% of total retail shares). The voting rate hasn’t improved much, if at all. This contrasts with almost all institutional investors voting, since they have a fiduciary duty to do so. Unfortunately, it isn’t time/cost efficient to read through the entire proxy to vote a few retail shares intelligently. Continue Reading →

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DaVita HealthCare Partners, DVA: Proxy Vote

DaVitaDaVita HealthCare Partners $DVA, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is June 17, 2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked and voted on 6/10/2014.  I voted with management 50% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the DVA proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value.   Continue Reading →

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Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII): Proxy Voting Recommendations

MBIIMarrone Bio Innovations (MBII): is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/29/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 5/23/2014.  I voted with management 33% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below.  What follows are my proxy voting recommendations for MBII. Continue Reading →

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CMG Shareowners Vote Down Pay & Supermajority Requirements

JMSelfie-CMG

McRitchie CMG Selfie

cmg
Just a brief post to thank shareowners at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) for sending a strong message to the company’s board and management.  77% of shares were voted against the executive pay package and a majority supported our proposal to end supermajority voting requirements.

CalSTRS, Florida SBA, AFSCME, Calvert, Domini, Trillium, CBIS, CtW and many others joined to reject the non-binding say-on-pay measure and a proposed stock incentive plan. Both ISS and Glass Lewis recommended their clients vote against the package and the plan. Continue Reading →

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Goldman Sachs Group (GS): How I Voted – Proxy Score 31

GS

GS

Goldman Sachs Group $GS, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/16/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 5/11/2014.  I voted with management 31% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below.

Compensation

GS’s Summary Compensation Table shows CEO/Chair Lloyd C. Blankfein  Continue Reading →

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International Business Machines Corp. (IBM): How I Voted – Proxy Score 75

IBMInternational Business Machines Corp. $IBM, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/29/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted on 4/22/2014.  I voted with management 75% of the time.  View Proxy Statement.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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NCR Corporation (NCR): How I Voted – Proxy Score 40

NCRThe NCR Corporations $NCR, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/23/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 4/18/2014.  I voted with management 40% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Why no index with no links? That seems so basic. Perhaps NCR doesn’t want to make reading the proxy easy? Continue Reading →
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The Coca-Cola Company (KO): How I Voted – Proxy Score 63 – Things Go Better With a Split CEO/Chair

CokeThe Coca-Cola Company $KO, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/23/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted on 4/15/2014.  I voted with management 63% of the time.  View Proxy Statement, which by the way is very nice and user friendly. See 18 Cool Things about the proxy.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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Bio-Rad Laboratories (BIO): How I Voted – Proxy Score 20

Bio-RadBio-Rad Laboratories, $BIO, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/22/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked and voted on 4/14/2014.  I voted with management 20% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. It is hard to believe but BIO not only doesn’t include a linked index, they don’t include an index or table of contents at all. Why make review ing the proxy so difficult? Continue Reading →

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