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Advocacy & Impact – July 2022

Written by First Affirmative

Shareholder Advocacy

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Proxy Season 2022 Yields Two Majority Votes

First Affirmative filed nine proposals this year, and we are pleased to report significant outcomes. Of the four proposals that went to a shareholder vote, two achieved majority support and two garnered over 30%. We were also able to withdraw three proposals after productive dialogues with companies.

The highlights:

Travelers Insurance

A shareholder proposal we lead filed at Travelers Insurance asking for enhanced lobbying disclosures received 52.7% support at the May 2022 annual meeting. We have been in dialogue with Travelers for about five years and filed two previous lobbying shareholder proposals during that time on this issue, both achieving in excess of 40% support. The company made significant improvements during this dialogue in disclosing lobbying done directly by their own staff but remained steadfast in their refusal to disclose trade association membership and spending.

Although the company is not obligated to respond to a majority vote, few companies ignore them, as the issue will continue to surface — and investors have now clearly demonstrated that they consider lobbying delegated to third parties like trade association and other organizations to be a key aspect of lobbying disclosure that cannot be dismissed by companies as insignificant.

We also co- filed two more lobbying proposals, at Walt Disney and at UPS, where the request was specific to how UPS’s climate lobbying aligns with a 1.5° climate scenario.  Both achieved well over 30% support.