EY advises its clients that the top priorities for engagement by investors this proxy season are:
- Investors want to know how companies are strategizing for a low-carbon future.
- Getting diversity disclosures that include the workforce and the board is an investor priority.
- Investors want to understand how pay decisions are being made in the context of COVID-19.
We would add: political contributions, of growing and urgent importance this year.
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Perhaps not the highest priority this year, but rising, is addressing employee empowerment/engagement and wealth inequality. Increased worker ownership, with accompanying voice, could be key but shareholders attempting to advance this are blocked by i-7, which prevents proposals relating to a company’s “ordinary business.” I filed several proposals this year (https://www.corpgov.net/2021/03/starbucks-2021-agm-worker-voice/) attempting to get at these issues indirectly but am looking for a more direct opportunity that would still get through a no-action challenge. Suggestions welcome.