By Ross Kerber
(Reuters) – U.S. corporations are facing an unprecedented wave in shareholder resolutions focusing on ESG themes by 2022. A new review shows that activists seek to capitalize on regulatory reforms and executives appear more willing to negotiate.
According to As You Sow, an activist group, and research by the Sustainable Investments Institute, shareholders have submitted a record number of resolutions on environmental, social, and governance issues at the annual meetings for publicly traded U.S. corporations this year. This is 22% more than the previous point in 2021.
Many people want to know more about carbon emissions and workforce diversity. Last year’s successes included changing the directors. Exxon Mobil Sponsors of the review suggested that Corp (NYSE 🙂 directors could be more open to considering proposed changes.
Andrew Behar (CEO of As You Sow) stated that companies are starting to realize the importance of minimizing risk for their investors. He and others suggested that shareholders could benefit from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s new guidance, which will make it easier for companies to avoid voting.
This year’s wins for activists include the March 4 vote at Jack in the Box Inc’s annual meeting, in which 95% of the votes were in support of the resolution on sustainable packaging that Green Century Capital Management sponsored.
Jack in the Box advised investors to vote against the measure. Jack in the Box did not comment immediately.
In another case, activist Boston Trust Walden agreed to withdraw a shareholder resolution filed for the spring meeting of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:)
The Wall Street bank was asked to give more information in return. This included details about lobbying and memberships to trade associations, as well as other financial filings.
JPMorgan declined any further comments.
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