Between the Lines Issue #5

Civex and the news

Company worth watching

  • ExxonMobil is undertaking multiple shareholder proposals this year at their May 25th Annual General Meeting (AGM). See the proxy statement here. Civex Advocate Partner, Green America, has tracked the top environment-related proposals at ExxonMobil that shareholders will get to vote in support or against. Topics include:
    • Review on climate-related advocacy
    • Report on lobbying policy & payments to organizations that advance model legislation
    • Report on contributions to political campaigns or to influence the public regarding an election or referendum

Vote worth watching

  • A shareholder proposal regarding a Racial Equity Audit is on the ballot at The Home Depot by Civex Advocate Partner, Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
    • SEIU urges the board to oversee an independent racial equity audit analyzing Home Depot’s adverse impacts on nonwhite stakeholders and communities of color. Input from civil rights organizations, employees, and customers are encouraged.
    • This follows an incident last year in which an employee in the Minneapolis Home Depot store was suspended after refusing to remove a Black Lives Matter logo from his apron.
      • Read more on the proxy statement here prior to the May 19th Annual General Meeting (AGM).
        • What is a Proxy Vote? Voting by proxy is when shareholders get a chance to tell the companies in which they are invested which proposals they are for and against. Learn more here.
        • What is an AGM? An AGM is the annual general company meeting in which shareholders can share their voice. Learn more here.
      • A similar proposal took place at Johnson & Johnson’s Annual General Meeting where over 60% of shareholders voted to support a racial equity audit.

Shareholders shared their voice, and made an impact!

  • Support for a Strong Net Indicator report was shared with Boeing as 90% of the vote was For a Report on a Net Zero Indicator at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) last month.
    • A growing segment of shareholders are increasingly concerned about climate risk to both their companies and their portfolios. The proponent of this proposal requested the Board issue a report evaluating and disclosing if and how the company has met the criteria of the Net Zero Indicator, or whether it intends to revise its policies to be fully compliant.
    • This was the most support for a shareholder proposal thus far this proxy season at 90%.
    • What is the Net Zero Indicator? It defines key success indicators for business alignment with the goals of the legally binding international treaty on climate change, the Paris Agreement.

The bottom line – Get involved.

It’s not just advocacy organizations submitting proposals. Shareholders are now coming around to this idea. They want to ensure the companies they’re invested in reflect their values. We now see unions, state comptrollers, retirement fund managers, foundations, and even religious organizations using the power of their shares to tell corporations what’s important to them.