Shareholder Engagement

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. These include proxy voting, engaging in dialogue with companies held in the portfolio, filing or co-filing shareholder resolutions, and signing on to public investor letters or statements. In addition to the resources below, IEN's Shareholder Engagement Working Group works to find effective ways to support endowments in being more active owners. 

Proxy Voting: Examples of endowment proxy voting policies, principles, and activities

Shareholder Resolutions: 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: Ceres' Shareholder Resolutions Database

PRI's Collaboration Platform: The PRI's ESG engagements team works with PRI signatories to identify key ESG issues in the market, and to address them coordinates collaborative initiatives – including investor-company engagements – as well as publications, webinars, podcasts and events: PRI ESG Engagements team

Sign-on Opportunities: Investor letter and statement sign-on opportunities

IEN Shareholder Engagement Webinars: 


Reports and White Papers:

ESG Materiality and Shareholder Engagement...What's Next? | Intentional Endowments Network, July 2018

The Investment Stewardship Ecosystem | BlackRock, July 2018

A Practical Guide to Active Ownership in Listed Equities | Principles for Responsible Investment, February 2018

Spending Against Change: Key Metrics Assessment of Climate Change Governance and Political Influence Spending in the Energy and Utility Sectors l Sustainable Investments Institute and The 50-50 Climate Project, February 2018

DOL Updates Guidance on Proxy Voting and ESG l Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., January 2017 

The Shareholder Action Guide l Andrew Behar - As You Sow, November 2016

Engaging Investment Managers on Proxy Voting & Other Forms of Shareholder Engagement l Intentional Endowments Network, September 2016

2016 Proxy Mid-Season Review l Sustainable Investments Institute, September 2016

2016 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide l Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, January 2016

Report: Investors Should Manage Climate Risks As 'Forceful Stewards' l Sustainable Brands, September 2015

"Active Ownership" | Elroy Dimson, University of Cambridge - Judge Business School; London Business School; Oğuzhan Karakaş, Boston College - Department of Finance; Xi Li, Temple University - Department of Accounting, August 7, 2015 

"21st Century Engagement: Investor Strategies for Incorporating ESG Considerations into Corporate Interactions" (pdf) | Ceres and Blackrock, May 2015 

"New Initiative Tracks Impact of Shareholder Engagement" | Trillium Asset Management, November 2014

Does Corporate Social Responsibility Lead to Superior Financial Performance? A Regression Discontinuity Approach | Caroline Flammer, October 2013

Unlocking the Power of Proxy: How Active Foundation Proxy Voting Can Protect Endowments and Boost Philanthropic Missions l Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and As You Sow Foundation, 2004

Oxford Martin Principles for Climate-Conscious Investment | Oxford Martin School, February 2018


Proxy Voting



VIDEO: An Overview of Shareholder Engagement, from the 2016 Shareholder Action Guide  




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