Shareowner Advocacy

shareholder-advocacyInvesting in stocks means becoming part owner, albeit a very small part, of often very large companies. Decisions these companies make day-to-day affect not only the communities in which they operate but potential risks and returns to their investors.

Shareowner advocacy describes a process of engaging with companies on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues to improve performance and impact.

Proxy Voting. Investors can make their voices heard in corporate board rooms by voting their proxies. Since clients are not able to attend the annual meetings of each corporation in which they hold stock, we vote electronically, on behalf of clients, according to our comprehensive Proxy Voting Guidelines.

Corporate Engagement. Companies are increasingly willing to work with shareowners and other stakeholders to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics, including equal opportunity employment, sustainable seafood procurement, timber sourcing, climate impacts, the rights of indigenous peoples affected by resource extraction, and much more. Read more about corporate engagement in First Affirmative's 2016 Advocacy and Engagement-Letters, Statements, and Petitions.

Shareholder Resolutions. When corporate engagement is not successful, filing a shareholder resolution can be an important tool for raising awareness about ESG issues among a wider base of shareowners. Read more about the resolutions First Affirmative has co-filed in our 2016 Shareholder Resolution Update.

For a comprehensive overview of First Affirmative's advocacy initiatives, check out our 2015 Shareowner Advocacy Update and  2014 Shareowner Advocacy Update.

Public Policy. The ever-evolving framework of business regulation needs to hear from investors. From what information companies are required to disclose to the SEC to how effectively government regulators enforce environmental laws, responsible investors engage policy-makers by writing letters, making phone calls, and providing research and information to help further sustainability goals.

Client portfolios frequently contain funds and managers that engage with companies on ESG issues likely to affect investment performance. When appropriate, First Affirmative joins with other shareowners to co-file shareowner resolutions or to provide input on public policy issues.

Investor coalitions enhance the effectiveness of shareowner activism by bringing together the voices of investment managers representing billions of investment dollars. First Affirmative participates in initiatives such as the CDP (formally the Carbon Disclosure Project). We also collaborate with CERES and the Investor Environmental Health Network.

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