Following an intense campaign from activist fund manager Sir Chris Hohn, in 2020, the Spanish airport group Aena became the first major company in the world to agree to regular climate votes at their AGMs. Since then Unilever, Shell, Glencore and Rio Tinto have voluntarily committed to a vote on their climate transition plans at their AGMs in 2021/22.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the Investor Forum has asked the UK government to make “say on climate” votes mandatory for all listed companies.
And it’s not just on climate change that shareholder activism is showing muscle. Tesco, a leading UK food retailer, was recently served with a requisition seeking to oblige the board to do more to promote healthy diets and tackle obesity.
Companies that may be the target of climate, or other ESG, activism are faced with a choice:
- take a proactive approach to addressing investor concerns; or
- wait to react to proposals put forward by investors.
For more information, see our publication: Hotting up - Investor activism on climate and ESG.