Posts Tagged ‘shareholder activism’

Native Land Taxes Reclaim Rights, Power, and the Environment

One of the most prevalent tools of colonialism has been the removal of land and natural resources from the hands of Indigenous peoples. This has led to the cultural, social, and spiritual disenfranchisement of Indigenous peoples and, as Native methods of land stewardship vanish, wide-ranging environmental effects are harming both Native and non-Native communities.

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In the News – Summer 2022

1. SBA FINALLY MEETS DEI The U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2021 report showed that only 18% of early-stage business loans went to women-owned firms, 8% to Hispanic-owned businesses, and 5% to Black-owned businesses. Pre-pandemic numbers were just as bad. Last month the SBA announced additional enhancements to Section 7(a) funding that should help improve its ability to meet “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) goals.
Main Street Journal

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Indigenous Representation Matters

In 2007, when I worked at The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF)— The national association for socially responsible investing (SRI) firms and professionals—I became the staff liaison for the Investors and Indigenous Peoples Working Group (IIPWG). One of IPWG’s main  campaigns at the time was asking companies and investors to pressure the owner of the Washington, D.C. professional football team to change its name to anything else that was not a racist slur.

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Shareholder Advocacy Review – Winter 2022

We finally get to take some victory laps! After years battling the previous administration, we are finally seeing executive branch actions that roll back its archaic rules and guidance that clearly benefited corporations and not investors.

SUCCESSES
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for example, recently issued new guidance addressing the criteria by which shareholders may submit proposals to the ballot for a shareholder vote. The guidance restores the original intent of the shareholder submission process in order to reduce the subjectivity of SEC staff interpretations, which typically blow in the political winds depending on which party controls the executive branch.

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In the News – Fall 2021

1: FUND MANAGERS FEEL HEAT IN SEC CRACKDOWN OF OVERBLOWN ESG LABELS
With the explosive growth in ESG products in response to consumer demand for sustainable and ethical investments, the Securities & Exchange Commission reviews the criteria companies are using. It is an effort to curtail greenwashing, especially with firms that repackage traditional funds with a green label. Bloomberg

2: HOW ACTIVIST HEDGE FUNDS WENT FROM CORPORATE RAIDERS TO CLIMATE HEROES
A new wave of ESG investors, primarily hedge funds, uses their assets to push for an overhaul of directorships of corporations with a weak focus on long-term social and environmental sustainability. It comes with obstacles, primarily from traditional hedge funds seeking quick and profitable short-term  quarterly earnings. Fast Company

3: EXECUTIVE STOCK SALES ARE UNDER SCRUTINY. HERE’S WHAT REGULATORS ARE INTERESTED IN
Securities regulators are rethinking rules on popular plans that let corporate executives sell stock without violating insider-trading provisions. For example, 10b5-1 plans allow executives to create  schedules for buying and selling shares in the future, but they can modify without disclosure.
Wall Street Journal

4: ENGINE NO. 1 TAKES CLIMATE FIGHT TO OTHER BIG OIL COMPANIES AFTER UNDERDOG WIN AT EXXON
After battling Exxon Mobil for board seats (and winning three) in a historic proxy battle earlier this year, the hedge fund launched an ETF this summer focusing on shareholder engagement.
CNBC

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Shareholder Advocacy Review – Fall 2021

It’s been a busy summer season for advocacy, and it continues to be refreshing to discover allies on Capitol Hill for the priorities of sustainable and responsible investors.

SUCCESSES
The EPA recently announced environmental protections under the Clean Water Act for Bristol Bay and a plan that could permanently block the development of the proposed Pebble Mine. The letter we co-signed calling for the EPA and Congress to permanently protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay and the world’s largest wild fishery against large-scale mining may have helped.

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Wisdom from SRI Veteran Tim Smith

Fifty years is a long time to be active in any field. For Tim Smith, his five decade career has been defined by leadership in the socially responsible investment industry. Smith co-founded the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, in 1971 and served as Executive Director from 1976 to 2000. The Episcopal Church, one of its members, was the first organization to file a shareholder resolution with a corporation; the resolution to General Motors in 1971 addressed its investment in South Africa’s apartheid regime.

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2020 Shareholder Advocacy Review

Natural Investments plays a proactive role within our industry by facilitating positive economic, social, and environmental change. One of the ways we push for the transformation we want to see is through shareholder engagement with companies, as well as advocacy with elected officials and federal agency commissioners on matters of public policy.

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Company Engagement: Amazon and Human Rights Standards

Natural Investments has joined with other investors representing $6.7 Trillion in assets under management to request that Amazon, Inc. respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We believe that worker representation plays an important role in companies.

In light of the reported anti-union practices at Amazon’s Bessemer facility in Alabama, we have joined this engagement to call upon the company to take concrete steps to implement its commitments to well-established human rights standards. We call on Amazon to immediately take steps to ensure the workers in Bessemer, Alabama are free to exercise their rights without interference. We also seek to kickstart dialogue on the company’s policies and approach to respecting labor rights in Amazon’s global operations and supply chain.

 Photo credit: Getty Images

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SRI in Focus: Lunatics in the Asylum

Despite the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, socially responsible investments (SRI) have received higher inflows of capital in 2020 than in any other period of American history. That’s right: investors have poured more than $21 billion into 300+ publicly available domestic SRI funds, well before the year’s end. All told, investors have already purchased more sustainable investments in the first half of this year than in all of 2019––a year that had already seen inflows that were a whopping 4 times higher than any previous year.

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