Shareholder Engagement

"There is no such thing to my mind as an innocent stockholder. He may be innocent in fact, but socially he cannot be held innocent. He accepts the benefits of the system. It is his business and his obligation to see that those who represent him carry out a policy which is consistent with the public welfare."

     — Louis Brandeis


Learning the Basics: 

Read through a quick guide to some fundamental concepts in investing on shareholder engagement: 

Proxy Voting and Shareholder Engagement for Endowments

IEN webinar providing an overview of shareholder engagement approaches and issues for endowments 

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ESG Materiality and Shareholder Engagement… What’s Next?

IEN talked with industry specialists to gain insight on some of the key areas of concerns for investors and their process to discern financially materially issues.

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Shareholder Engagement 

An overview from the Responsible Endowments Coalition on shareholder engagement 

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There are several forms of shareholder engagement that endowments can undertake to address material investment risks, improve corporate sustainability performance and support policies that move society towards sustainability. They are: proxy voting | engaging in dialogue with mutual funds or companies held in the portfolio | filing or co-filing shareholder resolutions | signing on to public investor letters or statements

Proxy Voting

IEN Webinar Introduction to Proxy Voting, July 2016

Proxy voting can be a powerful tool for improving corporate performance on social and environmental sustainability issues to enhance long-term value.  Increasingly, stakeholders are calling for endowments to be more active owners, and many argue that doing so is a responsibility of fiduciaries. This webinar provides a basic overview of proxy voting, including: 

  • A recap of the 2016 proxy season (what were the big issues and results?) 

  • Mechanics of how to vote proxies (how do we do it?) 

  • Effectiveness of proxy voting (what impact does it have on companies and society?) 

  • Proxy voting by external managers (how can we have a say in proxy voting if we don’t own the shares directly?) 

  • Resources required for proxy voting (how much time and money will it require to do this?)

🔐Endowment proxy voting policies, principles, and activities

ICCR's Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide: Presents ICCR member sponsored resolutions for that year and proposals that will go to a vote at the upcoming company annual meetings. 

Proxy Preview: Proxy Impact, Si2 and As You Sow’s guide to the upcoming proxy voting season

Racial Equity Voting Guide: Resolutions related to racial equity that will go to a vote organized by SEIU and Majority Action 


Dialogue with Fund Managers

The Intentional Endowments Network's "Engaging Investment Managers on Proxy Voting & Other Forms of Shareholder Engagement" document outlines potential questions for investment managers on their proxy voting and other shareholder engagement activities around ESG. To signal your endowment’s commitment to sustainability, your institution can share a list of questions, such as the one provided below, with both managers and advisors. Sharing your questions and interest in writing at the beginning of the dialogue will allow your managers and advisors an opportunity to prepare for an informed conversation on engagement. 



The 2018 Asset Manager Climate Scorecard provides information on how fund managers voted on a number of climate- and governance-related resolutions.






Shareholder Resolutions

ICCR Guide to Filing Resolutions (pdf), 2017.

Ceres' Shareholder Resolutions Database: Ceres tracks shareholder resolutions filed by their investor network participants on sustainability-related issues that companies are facing, focusing on climate change, energy, water scarcity, and sustainability reporting. On Ceres' website, you can sort resolutions by filer, company, issue and more, and get information about the resolution, including full resolution text, status, vote count and supporting memos. 

PRI's Collaboration Platform: is a private platform for PRI signatories to collaborate and enhance their impact on a range of global engagement initiatives including invitations to sign joint letters to companies, opportunities to join investor-company engagements on specific ESG themes and requests for support for upcoming shareholder resolutions.

As You Sow's Resolution Tracker: List of As You Sow associated shareholder resolutions - can filter by company, date, initiative and status

ICCR’s Shareholder Resolution Database: Lists ICCR member resolutions by company


Sign-on opportunities

Investor groups coordinate public statements or letters in support of various initiatives or policies related to sustainability, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and other materials investment considerations. An updated list of ongoing sign on opportunities are available here.


IEN Curated Resources: 

Publications & articles

A library of publications and articles IEN has developed on shareholder engagement

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Webinars and online workshops 

Recordings of webinars that IEN has hosted on shareholder engagement

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Access event summaries and panel recordings on shareholder engagement

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Collection of thought leadership by network members and partners on shareholder engagement

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IEN Working Groups and Initiatives 

Join IEN's Working Groups focused on advancing shareholder engagement

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Act for Impact:

Sign on to investor statements 

Investor groups coordinate public statements or letters in support of various initiatives or policies related to sustainability, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and other materials investment considerations. 

See updated list of sign on opportunities

Participate in IEN's Shareholder Engagement Initiative 

IEN is convening and supporting endowments to bring asset owner pressure to the companies they own to improve disclosure on climate risk and inequality, reduce GHG emissions, adopt science-based targets, and enact anti-discrimination strategies for gender and racial equity.


Participate in IEN's Proxy Voting Campaign 

Very few university and college endowments take advantage of the power they have through their proxy vote to engage corporations on their social and environmental impacts and address the risks in their portfolio. Actively vote your proxies and/or engage your external managers as to how you want your proxies voted and hold them accountable for how they vote. 

See 2021 campaign

Sign up for As You Vote 

A proxy voting service collaboration between Broadridge’s ProxyEdge voting platform and As You Sow to help you vote your values. 

Learn more




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