Press Release

Proxy Preview 2022: Record-Breaking 529 Shareholder Resolutions Filed Despite New SEC Restrictions

Berkeley, CA and Washington, DC   |   March 17, 2022
BERKELEY, CA and WASHINGTON, DC—MARCH 17, 2022—Proxy Preview 2022, today released by As You Sow, the Sustainable Investments Institute (Si2), and Proxy Impact, takes a comprehensive look at a record-breaking 529 shareholder resolutions on environmental, social, and sustainable governance (ESG) issues. More than 300 resolutions could see votes at spring and summer corporate annual general meetings. Filings are up 20% compared to a year ago overcoming new SEC rules designed to restrict shareholder voices.

Shareholders have already earned five majority votes (see table below) on sustainable packaging, net-zero emissions, gender/minority pay disparity, and racial justice, suggesting last year’s record-breaking 39 majority votes will be surpassed. Many more proposals this year seek quantitative reporting on climate change and diversity, implying companies must work harder to satisfy increasingly insistent stakeholders. Proponents are focused on how companies can cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero, and how they influence politics, combat systemic racism, and treat workers.

A new direction at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) means more company efforts to block proposals are failing. Proponents are hopeful that withdrawal agreements may increase given last year’s high votes. Also in play is a lawsuit seeking to overturn a 2020 rule change that makes it harder to file and resubmit proposals — even though the new restrictions seem only to have spurred more proposals.