Finansielt tunge globale aktører som Vanguard, State Street og Fidelity øgede deres stemmestøtte til aktionærforsalg i selskaberne om håndtering af klimaforandringer. Imens BlackRock stemte nej til mere end 80% af forslagene, rapporterer Morninstar.
Support for resolutions requesting climate-related disclosures, of which there were only 14 in 2020, rose at Fidelity, State Street Global Advisors, and Vanguard but fell at American Funds and BlackRock (BLK) from 2019. Support for a broader set of resolutions that incorporate climate governance considerations show a similar ranking among the most influential investment fiduciaries. With their massive amounts of money under management, these firms are often among the largest shareholders at many of the world’s biggest companies. Their yay or nay votes frequently make the difference between a shareholder proposal passing or failing.
While 2020’s results mark a higher level of support than BlackRock had given such proposals from 2016 through 2018–when its backing never made it to double digits–the 2020 level of “for” votes was down to 14% from 25% in 2019.
Continued low support for climate change proxy resolutions at BlackRock is therefore particularly notable. In January, its CEO Larry Fink said, “We are facing the ultimate long-term problem. … Every government, company, and shareholder must confront climate change.”
Elsewhere among the top five, support for climate change proposals showed some meaningful increases. Notably, for the first time in the history of Morningstar’s proxy vote data base, State Street Global Investors and Fidelity–including both the actively managed fund arm and Geode, the unit that runs the firm’s index funds and casts its votes separately–supported a majority of the climate-related disclosure requests that shareholders placed on the ballot.
At Vanguard, too, backing rose during the 2020 proxy season, which ended 30 June 2020. Vanguard’s funds voted in favor of 36%–or five out of 14 resolutions–this year, up from 25% (four out of 16) in 2019, zero in 2016, and 4% in 2017 (two out of 47).
The backdrop for these votes is that fewer and fewer climate-risk-focused resolutions are coming to vote. Just 14 came to vote in 2020, down substantially from previous years. However, those were supported at record levels by shareholders. Notwithstanding, the message is clear: Shareholders want to know more about how companies are addressing climate risks.