Left Menu
Development News Edition

Climate activists find warmer reception at shareholder meetings

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 11-07-2019 23:27 IST | Created: 11-07-2019 23:22 IST
Climate activists find warmer reception at shareholder meetings
Image Credit: Pixabay

Climate activists found companies more receptive to steps like cutting emissions or buying clean power this year, a new tally of shareholder resolutions shows, a trend proponent said undercuts the case for proxy rule changes sought by business groups.

Of the 145 climate-related proposals filed for this year's springtime annual meeting season, 39 percent led to deals and were withdrawn, according to Ceres, a Boston-based advocacy group that coordinates and tracks the resolutions. Last year the rate was 36 percent, and 21 percent in 2015. For instance restaurant parent Yum! Brands Inc in April agreed to track its emissions and to identify ways to reduce them, leading activists to withdraw a shareholder proposal before a shareholder vote, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

Executives are more inclined to compromise as extreme weather shows the impact of climate change, said Rob Berridge, Ceres' director of shareholder engagement. "The weather is worse, so the climate for these climate proposals is better. Companies are more receptive," he said.

Along with climate resolutions, those focused on other areas like director nomination rules have also found traction, said John Roe, head of ISS Analytics, part of proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services.

ISS data shows among the roughly 820 resolutions of all types filed in each of the past three years, withdrawal rates were 23% in 2017, 31% in 2018 and 30% so far in 2019. ISS' data does not capture how withdrawals were tied to deals. The counts by ISS and Ceres both include mainly U.S. companies. Stephen Giove, the partner at law firm Shearman & Sterling who represents large companies, said executives prefer to settle in private rather than confront shareholders at annual meetings, especially after high-profile wins for activists at several energy companies.

In several areas "There's no more leverage on the side of the proponents," Giove said. The trends match how companies have responded to other criticisms, such how some banks have pulled back from private prisons and gunmakers.

The tallies will inform the debate over proposed rule changes sought by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable to make proxy resolutions harder to file. Representatives for each group did not comment on Ceres' tally. A regulatory filing shows staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could recommend rule changes next April.

Danielle Fugere, president of activist organization As You Sow, said rule changes are not needed. "Its become very clear that shareholders appropriately care about climate change," she said. Fugere cited resolutions by her group calling for grocer Kroger Co to report on renewable energy use, winning 25% investor support in 2017 and 31% in 2018. This year she said As You Sow made a deal with Kroger and withdrew the proposal.

Via e-mail, Kroger Group Vice President Jessica Adelman said the company spoke with As You Sow about cutting energy use and that it is getting ready to set a new carbon reduction commitment. "We always engage with investors," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Diya Jalao for COVID 19: How Modi put Power Grids and power warriors at risk?

While Prime Minister Narendra Modis staunch supporters are busy in search of hidden science behind the sudden announcement of 9minutes9pm campaign but his ignorance of the actual science has put the nation in another danger. The scientists ...

Energy markets post-COVID 19: Recovery may take time, transition to continue

As oil markets have crashed, the experts believe the oil prices will come down drastically and continue making the energy transition a financial burden for many economies for a couple of years.  However, the market alone was never...

'Diya jalao' for COVID 19: Modi needs to practice his teachings and control fake news on social media

In his video message to the nation on Friday the Prime Minister talks about peoples collective power to win the invincible. However, he has made no concreate efforts to win over the confidence and represent the collective power of the polit...

Tourism post-COVID 19: Lessons learned, out-of-box strategies to ensure the revival

In the pre-COVID 19 period the tourism industry was seen with much hope throughout the world. However, the COVID 19 pandemic has completely paralysed the tourism industry and its dependent sectors. The tourism industry in the post-COVID 19 ...

Videos

Latest News

DRDO designs disinfection chamber, spl face mask

Joining efforts to fight COVID-19, the Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO has designed a full-body disinfection chamber and a special face protection mask for healthcare professionals, officials said. The special chamber cal...

16 more COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh: KGMU

Sixteen more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh, said King Georges Medical University KGMU, Lucknow on Sunday. Out of 16, one has been admitted to Banda hospital, seven have been admitted to Balrampur Hospital in L...

Australia optimistic over slowing virus spread, urges vigilance

Several Australian health officials said on Sunday they were cautiously optimistic about the slowing spread of coronavirus in the country but warned social distancing restrictions are to stay in place for months.Confirmed cases rose by 181 ...

19 killed in clash between drug gangs in northern Mexico

A big shootout between rival drug gangs killed 19 people in the northern Mexico border state of Chihuahua, state prosecutors office said Saturday. A total of 18 corpses, two grenades, vehicles and guns were found at the scene of the clash i...

Give Feedback