What is Shareholder Activism?

What is Shareholder Activism?

As a shareholder, you can have significant influence over the management of the companies you invest in. Because we recognize that even responsible companies face numerous social, environmental and governance issues day to day, we use our leverage constructively through letter-writing, direct dialogue, proxy voting, and the filing of shareholder resolutions (also known as “shareholder proposals”). 

Investors in publicly traded companies have an opportunity to vote on a variety of important matters at each company’s annual meeting. In the United States, you have the right to place your own issues on the ballot for fellow shareholders to vote on. These “shareholder resolutions” have been a critically important tool for holding corporations accountable on a wide range of issues, beginning with the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

Shareholder activism makes corporate managers aware that you want real change and thoughtful long-term management, as well as profits. Corporations do not generally hear about social and environmental issues from their shareholders, providing an excuse to ignore these issues. Responsible investors have helped to change that.