International

Record-breaking year for ESG shareholder proposals 

July 9, 2021
proxy voting ballot with pen_iStock-475571008

Shareholders are celebrating a successful proxy season – the period when most companies hold their annual shareholder meetings and investors’ concerns are presented in the form of resolutions on a variety of environmental, corporate political spending, human rights, diversity, governance, health and safety issues.

This year, records were broken with 34 majority votes (51% of votes or more cast in favor of a resolution), as compared to last year’s record-breaking year of 21 majority votes. In addition, 17 of those votes exceeded 70%, compared to two last year. Management supported four of the six votes receiving more than 90% of the vote, another first for environmental and social resolutions. 

Dominating the resolution categories that received majority votes were climate change, corporate political expenditures, and diversity. Several resolutions focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and some on sexual harassment received majority votes and several first-year proposals on racial justice received significant support. 

ProxyPreview, a collaborative effort of several organizations analyzing proxy votes, states: “There have been nearly 100 majority votes on ESG resolutions over the last decade, with half in the last two years. We are clearly at an inflection point, with the high votes showing that the big mutual funds have joined other large institutional investors in recognizing the risks and opportunities posed by environmental and social concerns.” 

For more detailed information on shareholder proposals voted on this proxy year, visit ProxyPreview to download a copy of its full report, or ICCR’s Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guidelines. Mercy’s proxy votes are available on our website, as well as the current status of our shareholder resolutions