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NextGen Magazine


Public Companies Face Wave of Environmental Shareholder Resolutions and Want to Stop Them All

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 14, 2021

Shareholder resolutions demanding that public companies provide more information about their environmental impact and their plans to address it are flooding into proxy ballots, and while many firms have voiced support in the abstract for a cleaner, greener economy, when it comes to their own organizations, they are urging investors to vote no, reported Bloomberg.

This proxy season will feature more than 20 different resolutions at companies such as Chevron, Union Pacific and Charter Communications, calling for actions such as a climate change strategy, emissions policy changes and increased disclosures on environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related issues. The resolutions have generally been brought forth by activist investors, such as the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, but they are generally opposed by management, who have strongly advocated against them.

Supporting the C-suite are the large asset managers, such as BlackRock, which, despite its professed support of ESG principles in the corporate world, has a habit of voting with management on resolutions like these. Bloomberg noted that the three largest fund companies side with management about 82 percent of the time on such matters.

Companies' reactions to environmental resolutions seem similar to their reactions to  shareholder resolutions regarding their role in racial justice: While companies would likely say they are diverse and inclusive, they have generally opposed shareholder resolutions brought forth to turn those statements into hard data. Management at these companies believe that such disclosures are unnecessary. Amazon, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson are among those that are actively fighting such proposals.