The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility recently released its 2023 proxy season recap – Catalyzing Corporate Change – that reviews the accomplishments of shareholder proposals filed by ICCR members in the past year.
ICCR is a member-based coalition of over 300 global institutional investors representing more than $4 trillion in managed assets. Praxis Mutual Funds has been an ICCR member for more than two decades and collaborates with other ICCR investors to engage companies on social and environmental risks resulting from corporate operations and policies.
ICCR members filed over 450 proposals last year, ranging in subject from human rights and child labor to environmental stewardship and political lobbying. Seven proposals – also known as resolutions – received majority support, while many others received substantial support.
Shareholder resolutions do not need to receive a majority of votes to make an impact. In fact, double-digit levels of support are often sufficient to move the company to provide a meaningful response, such as dialogue with the shareholders.
It’s also common for filers to withdraw their resolutions in exchange for action by the companies. In 2023, ICCR investors withdrew their proposals 122 times due to agreements with companies, representing over a quarter of all filings.
Praxis co-filed three proposals in the past year, including one filed at Morgan Stanley on climate transition planning that was withdrawn for a commitment. Resolutions at McDonald’s on antibiotics and Amazon on racial and gender pay gaps went to a vote and have led to discussions with the companies.
Filing shareholder proposals is one of several ways to engage companies, and typically used only when necessary to get a company’s attention or to encourage them to address an issue promptly. Most of the Praxis corporate engagements are in a productive dialogue phase and don’t require proposals.