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Key Shareholder Votes this Spring will Test the Commitment of Top Asset Managers to Holding Companies Accountable on Climate Change

The upcoming shareholder meeting season is unprecedented in an absolutely unprecedented time. We are in the middle of a global pandemic that threatens millions of lives and livelihoods. The COVID-19 crisis is playing out against the backdrop of the existential threats of escalating climate change. Rising seas, droughts, flooding, extreme heat and more are escalating around the world, all while emerging disease outbreaks, population movements, and political and economic conflicts will constrain governments’ ability to address them. COVID-19, and the economic effects of our efforts to contain it, provide just a small preview of the catastrophic systemic risks posed by…


SEC Disclosures Reveal That Top Asset Managers Voted Against Key Climate Resolutions at ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, Ford, General Motors, and Dominion Energy — several of which were backed by the Climate Action 100+, the $34 Trillion Global Investor Coalition

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Image: Americasroof/English Wikipedia

Today BlackRock and Vanguard’s disclosures of their 2018–2019 shareholder votes were released to the SEC, revealing that the largest funds of each asset manager wielded their considerable shareholder power to block the boards of directors of ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, General Motors, Ford, and Dominion Energy from facing accountability on climate change, prioritizing short-termism over the creation of long-term shareholder value.


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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Facebook is ubiquitous across our social and political lives — its platforms shape so much of how we connect, what we learn, what gives us hope and what makes us afraid. Facebook is just as inescapable for investors, as its size makes it automatically a part of just about any 401(k) portfolio. …


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Source: CNBC

The most important climate votes this week were not in Congress: they were at the ExxonMobil shareholder meeting today. Top institutional investors were pushing measures to hold the board of directors accountable for its failure to engage responsibly on climate change, backing resolutions demanding that the company fully disclose its political and lobbying activity and ensure independent board leadership. Those votes saw unprecedented levels of support: a resolution demanding an independent chair at ExxonMobil received 41% support, and 37% of voting shareholders supported a resolution calling for greater disclosure over ExxonMobil’s notorious lobbying activity. …


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Source: Bloomberg

Many of our Medium posts thus far have focused on BlackRock, the largest investment manager in the world. BlackRock has its own shareholder meeting today, and is facing a growing wave of anger and accountability for its myriad failures on climate change. Investors attending the meeting will be challenging BlackRock’s leadership for their recalcitrance when it comes to using its immense power responsibly.

Here’s why: BlackRock is a powerful force in the US economy, even though many people have never heard of the company. With over $6 trillion in assets, BlackRock manages investments for pension funds, universities, college savings plans…


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Source: VCU CNS

Shareholders delivered a strong rebuke of Dominion Energy’s board and CEO for their lack of leadership in confronting the long-term risks of climate change. A remarkable 40% of the votes cast at this week’s shareholder meeting went to supporting a proposal for the creation of an independent chair of the board — which would have put a check on a board with questionable qualifications to lead.

In a world where boards of directors all too often get a free pass for irresponsible behavior, Dominion’s shareholders have sounded the alarm loud and clear to Dominion’s board and CEO/Chair Thomas Farrell.

Dominion’s…


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Source: Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury

This week BlackRock voted for the status quo at Duke Energy’s shareholder meeting over both the climate and the interests of long-term investors. BlackRock has called upon investors to wake up to the dangers of climate change to businesses, yet continues to use their voting power irresponsibly.

At Dominion Energy’s shareholder meeting next week, will BlackRock continue to disregard its own advice and torpedo a resolution that could actually help address the climate risks to Dominion shareholders?

Majority Action and Mothers Out Front are calling on shareholders to vote for independent oversight of the board of directors of Dominion Energy…


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Source: Daniel Acker/Getty

This week Sturm Ruger, one of the country’s largest gun manufacturers, filed a proxy statement in anticipation of its annual general meeting on May 8, asking shareholders to reject proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS)’s recommendations to vote against three of the company’s directors. Though the gunmaker has failed to respond adequately to shareholder concerns on gun safety and long-term shareholder value, Sturm Ruger is still trying to avoid accountability. The world’s largest investor, BlackRock, owns a whopping 18% of the company, and made a big show of concern for gun safety in the wake of the Parkland massacre. …


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Source: Florida Politics

Duke’s largest shareholders, BlackRock and Vanguard, appear once again to have torpedoed critical investor efforts to ensure boardroom accountability and long-term value creation. Though BlackRock has called upon investors to wake up to the dangers of climate change to businesses, both BlackRock and Vanguard appear to have instead decided to again prioritize business-as-usual over both the climate and the interests of long-term investors.

Majority Action issued an advisory that calls on shareholders to hold Duke Energy’s leadership accountable for their failures to responsibly oversee the company’s political and lobbying activity, putting long-term shareholder value at risk. Three resolutions were voted…


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Illustration: Majority Action

On May 2, shareholders are poised to deliver a stunning rebuke to Duke Energy, the largest electricity company in the country, over its irresponsible approach to climate change. They are voting on resolutions demanding transparency and accountability for the company’s extensive lobbying and political spending to undermine responsible climate policy, and for the company to report and deal responsibly with the substantial public health risks of its coal operations. …

Eli Kasargod-Staub

Making every investor’s voice count on the issues that matter as Executive Director of Majority Action

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