Shareholder Activism: A Vital Tool for Positive Change

In the world of socially responsible investing (SRI), shareholder activism stands tall as a potent strategy for creating meaningful impact. By wielding their rights as shareholders, individuals and organizations can drive transformation on vital fronts like environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues. In this blog post, we’ll explore the power of shareholder activism and how you can be a part of it.

Corporate Engagement: Making Your Voice Heard

Shareholders have several avenues to influence corporate decisions and bring about positive change:

  1. Vote on Proxies: All shareholders can cast their votes on annual meeting agenda items, even if they can’t attend in person. Voting by mail ensures your voice is counted.

  2. Write Letters: As a shareholder, you can communicate directly with a company’s Investor Relations Department through letters, conveying your concerns and expectations.

  3. File Resolutions: Shareholders with investments of at least $2,000 can propose resolutions for consideration at annual meetings, shaping the company’s agenda.

  4. In-Person Meetings/Dialogues: Engaging in direct conversations with company representatives can be a powerful way to address issues and seek solutions.

  5. Divest: Sometimes, selling your shares may be the best course of action to disengage from a company that does not align with your values. It sends a clear message.

Remember, if you don’t vote as an investor, you’re not influencing management, allowing them to make decisions without your input.

The Silent Influence: Mutual Funds and ESG Issues

Many mutual funds, particularly those without socially responsible objectives, fail to vote on issues related to social, ethical, political, and governance matters. Due to this lack of participation, ESG shareholder resolutions can often pass with a small percentage of votes.

If you own individual shares or invest in an SRI mutual fund that shares your values, it’s essential to take an active role in the decision-making process.

Where to Find Proxy Voting Information

Several organizations make it easier for shareholders to engage in proxy voting:

Active Mutual Funds in Shareholder Advocacy

SRI mutual funds vary in their levels of engagement with corporate activism. Some examples of mutual funds actively involved in shareholder advocacy include:

These funds not only vote on important issues but also engage in active dialogue, file shareholder proposals, and work to effect change on various fronts, from sustainability to diversity and more.

By embracing shareholder activism and aligning your investments with your values, you can play a pivotal role in shaping a more socially responsible and sustainable corporate landscape. Don’t underestimate the power you hold as a shareholder to drive positive change in the world.