As You Sow

Shareholders filed a record 535 environmental, social and governance resolutions for the upcoming proxy season, according to a report by As You Sow, Sustainable Investments Institute and Proxy Impact.

The release of the Proxy Preview 2023 comes as president Joe Biden cast his first veto on March 20 to derail a Republican-designed bill to ban the government from considering ESG matters for investment decisions related to retirement plans.

Heidi Welsh, co-author of the Preview, notes that environmental and social challenges aren’t going to disappear because they prompt controversy.

Proxy Preview 2023

“Proxy season will give companies feedback on reform ideas, but there’s no indication attacks on ESG investment are going to dampen investor appetite for facts and disclosure, which makes capital markets work better,” she said.

Climate change, racial justice, fair pay, digital privacy, reproductive and worker rights are the top ESG issues slated for shareholder votes at the upcoming annual meetings.

The Review found that corporate efforts to block ESG proposals at the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped 30 percent from a year ago.

Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, noted that activists are working closely with corporate executives and and boards to address material risks for all stakeholders.