US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment today shared the following statement about two proposals the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued today. One proposal would change rule 14a-8, the regulation that spells out the rights shareholders have to raise substantive issues of concern at the annual meetings of the companies in which they invest. The second proposal would impose additional requirements on independent proxy advisory firms that provide recommendations to investors on the voting items at the meetings of publicly traded companies.
The proposed changes to the 14a-8 rule would limit shareholders’ ability to file resolutions at the annual meetings of publicly traded companies. Under the existing rule, the minimum stock ownership necessary to file a resolution at a corporation’s annual meeting is $2,000, which must be held for at least one year. The SEC is proposing instead that shareholders would have to own $25,000 of the target company’s stock for at least one year (a 1,200% increase), or $15,000 for at least two years. Smaller shareholders who own at least $2,000 but less than $15,000 worth of the company’s stock would have to wait three years to file a resolution.
The SEC also proposes to change how much support a resolution must win—measured by the percentage of the shares voted—in order to be resubmitted in subsequent years. The proposal changes these thresholds from 3 percent (first year), 6 percent (second year) and 10 percent (third and subsequent years) to 5 percent, 15 percent and 25 percent Moreover, proposals that win more than 25 percent (but less than 50 percent) support may be excluded in a subsequent year if the support drops by 10 percent from the previous year’s level.
The SEC’s second proposed rule would require proxy advisory firms to give the issuers they cover the opportunity to review and comment on the proxy advice before it is issued. It would also allow issuers to include a link to the issuers’ views when proxy advice is sent to recipients.
Deadline: November 22, 2019
In the run-up to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in September, Ceres is looking for investors to sign on to their Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change.
The statement – signed currently by a record number of investors – declares strong investor support for the Paris Agreement and the implementation of its goals. It calls on governments to:
- Achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals;
- Accelerate private sector investment into the low carbon transition; and
- Commit to improve climate-related financial reporting.
The statement was sent to the leaders of the G20 nations and re-launched publicly in advance of the G20 Summit in Osaka in June 2019. It will be updated and showcased at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Change Summit in New York in September, and will subsequently form the basis on engagements with governments in the run-up to COP25 in Santiago in December. Your support for this statement would be a valuable addition to the significant base of existing signatories, at a key moment in the international climate negotiations.
To add your organization’s name to the statement, please complete the short form at this link: https://theinvestoragenda.org/areas-of-impact/policy-advocacy/
There is no cost to sign the statement and no further actions are required of signatories. The statement will be signed by organization names only – not individuals (no actual signatures are needed).
This statement was drafted through a collaboration among seven groups, under the auspices of the Investor Agenda: the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), CDP, Ceres, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and UNEP-FI. The statement is final, and no further changes can be made.
By signing the statement, you consent to your organization being listed as active under the policy advocacy focus area of the Investor Agenda.
In addition to signing the global investor statement, we strongly encourage you to take action in the other areas of The Investor Agenda: Investment, Corporate Engagement, and Investor Disclosure. Taking action in all four areas sends an important signal to governments that investors are being ambitious in their action on climate change and are seizing the opportunities associated with the low carbon transition.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please email Chris Fox at email@example.com.
Investor Expectations on Corporate Climate Lobbying
Deadline: August 23, 2019
Add your organization's name to a list of supporters of the statement, “Investor Expectations on Corporate Lobbying on Climate Change.”
To sign your organization onto the letter, follow this link by August 23rd, 2019.
Shareholder engagement with companies on climate lobbying has the potential to be even more impactful since the launch of the Climate Action 100+ initiative in 2018 and other important milestones including:
- An active initiative in Europe where investors addressed 55 CA100+ focus companies. Through the European Investor Expectations on Corporate Climate Lobbying, investors urged companies to pledge to ensure their climate-related lobbying was consistent with the Paris Accord and to review the climate lobbying of their trade associations;
- Over 10 European firms have committed to ensure their own public policy advocacy is consistent with the Paris Accord and review their trade associations in line with these Investor Expectations, including Shell, BP, and Equinor. In fact, Shell moved quickly on its pledge by publishing a report on 19 major global trade associations of which it is a member, ending membership in one and putting others on notice because of their climate lobbying;
- Increased public attention in the U.S. on climate lobbying -- stimulated by discussions of climate legislation at the federal and state level from New York State to Oregon;
- New York City Comptroller’s shareholder resolution at Ford and GM, as well as an investor letter to GM asking them to actively lobby in support of CAFE standards resulting in 19 auto companies writing to the US president and the State of California in support;
- Increasing active leadership by many companies to lobby positively for forwarding-looking government action on climate -- For example, Ceres helped coordinate a lobbying day by companies in Washington, DC in May with companies like BP, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft and PepsiCo visiting members of Congress to advocate for government action and a price on carbon.
The Investor Expectations statement will go to the 47 US-based CA100+ focus companies. Each individual company letter will be sent to the CEO with copies to additional people we have been working with in the company.
The US Investor Expectations on Climate Lobbying letter initiative is being coordinated by Ceres staff with assistance from Walden Asset Management and BNP Paribas Asset Management.
Contact Timothy Smith, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Deadline: June 17, 2019
The First Affirmative Financial Network invites institutional investors to sign this open letter to Mr. Jamie Dimon, CEO and Chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase regarding serious investor concerns about the bank's approach to climate change. The impetus for this campaign was generated by the Rainforest Action Network's recent report, Banking on Climate Change.
The bank's position as the leading lender and underwriter to fossil fuel companies by a large margin, including extensive financing of companies that are investing in new reserves and fossil fuel infrastructure, is not compatible with the goals of the Paris agreement– an agreement that the bank claims to support. Mr. Dimon has also made recent statements that indicate his belief that climate change does not pose a direct risk to the financial system, a belief that is completely out of step with his peers.
The letter asks JPMorgan Chase to take action steps to ensure that the company’s financing is — as called for in the Paris Agreement — “consistent with a pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions.”
Deadline: May 3, 2019
As You Sow invites investors to sign onto the investor statement focused on increasing corporate disclosures related to gender equity. Currently, investors have a paucity of gender and workplace equity data. According to Equileap, an Amsterdam based non-profit gender research aggregator, only 37% of desired gender equality data is publicly reported. Data is lacking across 19 gender equality criteria, including the gender balance of the workforce and executive team, equal pay, parental leave, non-discriminatory hiring and promotion, and supply chain safety. Equileap's research is used to create an annual global ranking of companies leading the way in gender equity. This data set is essential to As You Sow's Gender Equality Funds. The sign-on letter encourages companies to take seriously the need to report publicly on key gender equity indicators. As You Sow will need a signatory name, your organization, and your AUM (which will only be released in aggregate).
Investor Statement on Workplace Equity Transparency
FASB Corporate Tax Disclosures
Deadline: Thursday, May 30th
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has proposed important new standards on corporate tax disclosures. The changes would require disclosure of corporate taxes separated by federal, state and foreign amounts. Critically, this new requirement fails to include country-by-country reporting. To read and sign the letter, go here. Contact John Keenan (email@example.com) with any questions. Deadline to sign is May 30, and comment period ends May 31.
Deadline: November 21, 2018
The Investor Alliance for Human Rights (IAHR) invites investors to engage with ICT companies on human rights due diligence, with a focus on salient digital rights risks. ICT companies drive global innovation, economic growth, and the fulfillment of human rights for millions of people. Yet, these same companies can contribute to human rights abuses through their activities, or as a result of their business relationships.
The statement calls for internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies to respect human rights and refer to the Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) Corporate Accountability Index as a tool to help them improve their governance systems and performance on salient human rights risks related to privacy and freedom of expression. The statement includes a clear set of recommendations for companies in ICT, as well as investor statements of support for the RDR Index.
Deadline: November 15, 2018
Investors with assets totaling more than $5 trillion have petitioned the SEC to develop a comprehensive framework requiring public companies to disclose identified ESG factors that are material to the companies operations. Several of our asset manager members and non-profit partners as well as professors from the law schools of University of Toledo, Yale University, the University of Idaho, Georgetown University, Boston University, Wake Forest University and the University of California signed the original petition.
Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or a paper comment letter can also be sent. Commenters are encouraged to send letters or emails before the SEC holds its proxy voting roundtable on November 15th. Emails and paper letters need to follow a particular format. More detailed instructions are provided here.
IEN will be submitting its own comments of support which we will post on our sign-on opportunity page as well.
Deadline: November 15, 2018
This statement calls on governments to: Achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals; Accelerate private sector investment into the low carbon transition; and Commit to improve climate-related financial reporting. The statement has already been signed by 345 investors managing $30 trillion in assets, and has had significant impact. As well as the statement, you can read an accompanying briefing paper (not for signature) that provides additional information. The statement was sent to world Governments in September. The final, updated version will be published ahead of the G20 Summit and showcased at COP24. To add your organization’s name to the statement, please complete the short form at this link https://theinvestoragenda.org/areas-of-impact/policy-advocacy/
Deadline: October 25, 2018
Ceres invites institutional investors to sign on to a public comment letter opposing the recently proposed EPA/NHTSA rule to roll back the 2012 fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards (National Program) and revoke California's authority to set its own, more stringent, emission standards. Sign on deadline is October 25th.
Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative
Our Climate, in partnership with the National Geographic documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously, calls on leaders in higher education to demonstrate support for carbon pricing by signing onto a letter of endorsement. For more information, please see here.
Higher education backs Low Carbon USA
On December 19, 2016, Second Nature released a letter which was collaboratively developed by a diverse group of higher education Institutions and Second Nature that demonstrates its alignment with over 1,000 business leaders under the banner of Low Carbon USA. The goal of the initiative is to show that support for Climate Leadership comes from many sectors and that the message is clear: threats to progress are real, solutions are important and feasible, and we need to act now. To read the letter, and more on how to participate, please see here.
The Investor Stewardship Group (ISG) was formed to bring all types of investors together to establish a Framework of basic standards of investment stewardship and corporate governance for U.S. institutional investor and boardroom conduct. The result is the Framework for U.S. Stewardship and Governance comprising of a set of stewardship principles for institutional investors and corporate governance principles for U.S. listed companies.
The corporate governance Framework articulates six principles that the ISG believes are fundamental to good corporate governance at U.S. listed companies. They reflect the common corporate governance beliefs that are embedded in each member’s proxy voting and engagement guidelines, and are designed to establish a foundational set of investor expectations about corporate governance practices in U.S. publicly-listed companies.
The Framework goes into effect January 1, 2018 to give U.S. companies time to adjust to these standards in advance of the 2018 proxy season.
A group of companies and investors that share a concern that financial markets are not taking sufficient account of climate-related corporate performance, risks and opportunities relevant to future shareholder value because of the lack of information in "mainstream" corporate reports for the investment community. For this reason, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board have decided to produce and make use of such information on a common basis through the Climate Change Reporting Framework. They take this step primarily out of a sense of fiduciary responsibility.
In the aftermath of last month’s mass shooting in Parkland, a student-led movement has arisen that is demanding a legislative response to the epidemic of gun violence in our country. The objective of publishing this statement is to communicate the importance this issue holds for investors and to challenge companies to reflect on how they can contribute positively to resolve gun violence.
Investors invited to join coalition on sustainable protein
FAIRR’s engagement with food retailers and multinational food companies on sustainable protein is entering its second phase. Currently backed by an investor coalition of over $2 trillion AUM, the engagement is calling on companies to think strategically about building sustainable protein supply chains to mitigate the investment risks linked to intensive farming. Companies are also being encouraged to profit from opportunities emerging from changing global consumer preferences and growing demand for plant-based proteins. To join the engagement or find out more, please contact Rosie Wardle by Monday 3 July 2017.
G7 and G20 urged to stand by Paris Climate Accord
The PRI, Ceres, IIGGC, IGCC and CDP are coordinating an investor letter organized as a response to US threats to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. The letter, which will be sent to the G7 and G20 governments – calls for the implementation of the accord, policies to drive investment in the low-carbon transition and green investment, and implementation of the FSB Task Force recommendations.
Signatory investors include Amundi, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, Aviva Investors, AXA Group, Caisse des Dépôts Groupe, ERAFP, Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites, HSBC Global Asset Management, RobecoSAM and Schroders.
Join 216 investors representing US$15 trillion who have already signed. Deadline June 30, 2017.
For details on how to add your institution to this list, and instructions on how to review a copy of the letter, please visit: https://www.tfaforms.com/4612398
Bangladesh Investor Initiative
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and Boston Common Asset Management invite IEN members to become signatories to an Investor Statement on the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety . The 4th anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse provides investors the opportunity to positively support actions on the ground:
- to remediate safety hazards that remain and
- to support the continuation of worker safety trainings to build a proactive sustainable presence in factories for the future.
The Accord for Fire and Building Safety has made important strides to address the risk to garment factory workers in the 1,600 factories covered under the program. To complete the work however, requires the extension of the original 5-year agreement. In addition, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety needs to complete remediation of all outstanding issues identified in its inspections and publicly report on progress so that investors and other stakeholders are informed.
Since May of 2013 ICCR’s Bangladesh Investor Initiative has shone a light on the safety crisis in the garment sector and has been one of the few initiatives to follow developments to identify and eradicate threats to worker safety over the four year period. Boston Common has supported this work through our meetings with trade unions, women’s organizations and NGOs in Bangladesh which we reported on in 2014 in our Quarterly Newsletter.
Action: We invite you all to join other investors including Boston Common in signing the statement. Please provide your information by filling out the online form here. The deadline is close of business, Friday, April 21st,2017.
ICCR will release the statement with signatories on the 4th anniversary, Monday, April 24th, 2017. We encourage you to post the statement to your website, circulate it to your networks and to send it to companies you have engaged on safety issues in Bangladesh, whether they are members of the Accord or the Alliance. We will also send the statement to the Accord Steering Committee and the Alliance Board of Directors.
Endowment signatories: Hampshire College
Sonen Capital and Pax World Management hope that you will join us in supporting a very important proposal currently being considered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC). The EEOC, in partnership with the Department of Labor, is proposing that all companies with over 100 employees annually collect summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity.
In the United States, the pay gap has not changed substantially over the last 15 years and is 2.5% greater than the OECD average. The typical woman receives 21% less pay than the typical man. The typical Hispanic woman earns 45% less, and the typical black woman earns 40% less, than the typical white man. Even when education, occupation, industry, and job title are held constant, studies have shown that the pay gap remains. Asking for the collection and sharing of pay gap data is a huge step in the right direction.
We hope that you will join us by submitting comments directly to the EEOC in support of the proposal. They will be accepted until April 1st, 2016. Instructions can be found here.
Please let us know if you would also be able to commit to contacting additional companies. If there is sufficient capacity to do so, it would be wonderful to expand the campaign beyond the S&P100.
Please let Meredith Benton of Sonen Capital, at email@example.com, or Heather Smith of Pax World Management LLC, at firstname.lastname@example.org, know if you would also be able to commit to contacting additional companies. If there is sufficient capacity to do so, it would be wonderful to expand the campaign beyond the S&P100. We hope you will be able to join us in this important initiative.
Endowments can sign the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change to express support for strong domestic and international climate and clean energy policies. The statement was originally launched at the UN Climate Summit in Sept. 2014, and will be re-launched with additional signatories ahead of the Paris climate negotiations in Dec. 2015. Read more...
- Endowment signatories: University of California, Hampshire College, Green Mountain College, Goddard College, Unity College, University of Dayton
Investors representing $1.5 trillion commend the White House’s proposal to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by at least 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025.1 The announcement demonstrates a commitment to confront climate change, promote economic growth, transition to a renewable energy economy, and provide more regulatory clarity for the industry. Read more...
- Endowment signatories: Amherst College
Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), in partnership with the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, are facilitating a global investor communication to the IOSCO Secretariat and its Executive Board, in order to draw attention to investors’ growing needs for timely, comparable and material disclosure of corporate sustainability information to inform their investment decisions. The deadline for signing is September 16, 2014.
The World Bank encourages organizations to state their support for a price on carbon. The Global Investors Coalition on Climate Change provides the reasoning for Why Investors Support a Price on Carbon. Colleges and universities interested in adding their support can read the statement and fill in this form to join those endorsing it.