Sustainable and ESG Investors Advocacy
From 2020 through the first half of 2022, 154 institutional investors and 70 investment managers collectively controlling nearly $3.0 trillion in assets at the start of 2022 filed or co-filed shareholder resolutions on environmental, social or governance issues.
- As shown in Figure G below, public funds were the leading category of investors—in asset-weighted terms—that filed shareholder resolutions during this period, accounting for 67 percent of the assets of all institutional investor and money manager filers. However, they represented just 7 percent of the filing institutions. When the number of institutions rather than assets are considered, money managers were the leading segment filing resolutions.
- As shown in Figure H at top of page, the leading issue raised in shareholder proposals, based on the number of proposals filed from 2020 through 2022, was on ensuring fair workplace practices, and particularly on ending de facto discrimination based on ethnicity and sex. From 2020 through mid-2022, investors filed a total of 311 proposals on these fair labor issues.
- Investors also focused on disclosure and management of corporate political spending and lobbying. Shareholders filed 288 proposals on this subject during this period. Continuing a trend of several years, many of the targets were companies that have supported trade associations that oppose regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
- A surge in shareholder proposals on climate change that began in 2014 has continued, as investors have wrestled with whether US corporations are doing enough to assess their climate risk or to meet the greenhouse gas reduction challenges laid down by the Paris Climate Accord: 265 proposals were filed from 2020 through 2022.
- The proportion of shareholder proposals on social and environmental issues that receive high levels of support has been trending upward. During the proxy seasons of 2014 through 2016, just 2 percent of shareholder proposals on environmental and social issues received majority support. From 2017 through 2019, that proportion rose to 6 percent. From 2020 through mid-2022, 14 percent of environmental and social proposals, on average, received majority support.
Order a copy of the 2022 Report on US Sustainable Investing Trends from the US SIF.