Ernst & Young LLP has released the results of a new study that examines the increase in shareholder resolutions that focus on environmental and social issues. The report reveals an increase in both the number of environmental-related shareholder proposals as well as the shareholder support of these proposals.

“Increased awareness among investors and regulators of the reputational and financial risks associated with CSR and environmental sustainability places more pressure on companies to identify and manage these issues. This trend has truly evolved over the last decade and it is gaining more traction as reflected in the growing number of proposals voted on and the level of “for” votes cast this season,” explained Steve Starbuck, Americas Leader Climate Change and Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young LLP.

Shareholders are embracing the triple bottom line, ensuring that companies perform well in social, environmental and economic arenas. Highlights from the report include:

  • 83 percent of investors feel that environmental and social factors can significantly impact shareholder value CSR-related proposals that came to a vote increased from 150 in 2000 to 191 in 2010
  • 51.1 percent of CSR-related proposals received at least 10 percent shareholder support, up from 16.7 percent in 2000
  • 26.8 percent of CSR-related resolutions crossed the 30 percent support threshold, up from 2.6 percent in 2005
  • Some proposals linked compensation to environmental goals
  • In some cases, shareholders want board members to have experience with sustainability issues
For more information about shareholder proposals and to read Ernst & Young’s recommendations for addressing shareholders’ environmental concerns, download the report: Shareholders press boards on social and environmental risks – Is your company prepared? (PDF)

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