How Private Shareholder Engagements on Material ESG Issues Affect Companies

Shareholders have increasingly taken the lead in pushing for corporate sustainability. In 2021, for example, 20 percent of U.S. environmental and social shareholder proposals won over 50 percent of shareholder support, while in 2016 only 3 percent of such proposals were approved by a majority of shareholders. [1] Investors have also strengthened their private engagement efforts, with collaborative groups like Climate Action 100+ urging firms to make their operations more environmentally sustainable. Yet an important question persists: How relevant are these stewardship activities to the financial performance of target firms?

In a new working paper, we use an extensive global … Read more