Corporate governance nonprofit Majority Action released today its report analyzing asset managers’ 2019 voting records on climate-related shareholder proposals and CEO pay at energy and utility companies. The report finds that influential firms like BlackRock and Vanguard repeatedly voted with corporate management in opposing climate risk mitigation proposals. In fact, BlackRock and Vanguard voted against every proposal supported by the Climate Action 100+, an investor coalition with $34 trillion assets under management; in 16 cases the asset managers’ support would have led to majority votes. Instead, the report states, “BlackRock and Vanguard chose to shield management from accountability, serving as a blockade for global investor action on climate.”
In contrast, the report noted Legal & General, BNP Paribas, and PIMCO supported more than 95 percent of the shareholder proposals analyzed in this study, as did DWS Group, voting in favor of improved emissions disclosures and reduction plans, transparency regarding corporate political influence activity, and governance reforms to improve accountability to long-term shareholders. In addition, Legal & General Investment Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management, PIMCO, and Standard Life Aberdeen had the highest rate of voting against management proposed director candidates and say on pay proposals in the oil and gas and utility industries. These large asset managers are choosing to set and enforce policies to hold corporate boards accountable if climate-related concerns are not adequately addressed.