The trend: More investors are pushing retailers to adopt ESG-related resolutions as concerns over sustainability, racial equity, and treatment of workers come to the fore.
How we got here: People’s expectations for the retailers they shop with and companies they invest in are higher than ever, particularly when it comes to issues of sustainability and social responsibility.
Shareholders speak up: The SEC’s announcement last November that companies should allow shareholders to vote on any proposals that raise “issues with a broad societal impact” enabled investors to bring a broader range of initiatives to the table.
The challenges: Part of the difficulty that ESG-minded investors face is the fact that proposals such as allowing Amazon workers to collectively bargain or conducting an independent audit of warehouse working conditions could have serious repercussions on a company’s bottom line—minimizing their appeal to shareholders looking to maximize their investments.
The big takeaway: Even unsuccessful proposals can have an impact, since the public scrutiny they generate could force companies to take steps regardless.
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