Companies becoming more sensitive to sustainable investment concerns – survey
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
US companies are becoming more receptive to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns of shareholders, according to a new survey of socially responsible investing (SRI) experts.
Nine out of the 11 experts quizzed in a new study from Monitor Global Outlook, a research service of the Christian Science Monitor, say that companies have been more sensitive to ESG issues this year than in the previous five years.
They say that this change is most evident in companies’ responses to investor complaints lodged during recent proxy seasons – the period during which companies hold their annual shareholder meetings.
According to Institutional Shareholder Services, in the US, as of May 5, 166 shareholder resolutions had been withdrawn this proxy season. This suggests SRI investors have been encouraged by company action. This number is up from 151 withdrawals in 2013, 137 in 2012 and 127 in 2011.
“The way that companies are coming to the table and actually talking – it looks like more than ever”,said Andrew Behar, chief executive officer of As You Sow, a builder of SRI coalitions for shareholder activism, and a member of the expert panel.
However, the study notes that resolutions that are going forward tend to focus on one issue: climate change.