Shareholders continued to call for change at companies this year, bringing a raft of proposals in the US and Europe on collective bargaining rights, climate lobbying, child safety in the digital realm, animal welfare, racial equity and tax transparency. Executive compensation also came under scrutiny as the cost of living crisis continued.
Meanwhile, as Europe braced for a summer of soaring temperatures, and smoke from Canadian wildfires choked New York, investor dissension mounted over what was seen as backtracking on climate commitments in some quarters. In the UK and France, fossil fuel shareholder meetings were targeted by climate activists, and institutional investors spoke out about their deepening concerns.
Companies continued to give investors the opportunity to vote on their climate transition plans – either for the first time, or by providing an annual update to already-approved plans. However, there was a marked reduction in the number versus 2022, according to EOS tracking data. Aside from the sizeable votes against at Woodside, we saw dissent at TotalEnergies, BP and Shell.
We take a robust approach to assessing companies’ climate transition plans. We consider the extent to which plans are substantially aligned with a global temperature rise of 1.5°C, and the action that companies are taking to deliver against these plans. This meant we recommended votes against the climate transition progress reports proposed by Shell and TotalEnergies again this year due to their failure to make sufficient progress in aligning with 1.5°C.
Read the full article in our Q2 2023 Public Engagement Report.