Australia: Shareholder resolutions call for listed companies to act on social and environmental issues

Author: Ruth Williams, Sydney Morning Herald, Published on: 16 October 2017

"How the new generation of activists corners boards", 14 October 2017

Not so long ago, it was easy to spot the environmental agitators at the corporate annual meeting...Things have changed. A new generation of non-government-organisations...has found a smarter, more targeted way of sending a message – using carefully-crafted shareholder resolutions calling for companies to act on environmental and social issues... 

The groups lodging the resolutions argue their activism is pushing boards, boosting awareness and leading to tangible change...frustrated directors complain the resolutions divert resources into dealing with "narrow" or "activist" causes, that can improperly delve into management issues that fall into the domain of the board, not shareholders...

With peak annual meeting season approaching, at least eight resolutions focusing on social or environmental issues have landed for consideration at seven ASX200 companies in 2017: Santos and Oil Search, whose AGMs were earlier in the year, and Woolworths, Downer EDI, Origin Energy, BHP and the Commonwealth Bank...

[also refers to AGL, Wesfarmers, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, PPL Corporation, BlackRock, Vanguard, Rio Tinto, Shell, BP, BHP, Origin Energy, Woolworths and ANZ]

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Related companies: AGL ANZ Bank BHP Billiton BlackRock BP Commonwealth Bank Downer Edi ExxonMobil Occidental Petroleum Oil Search Origin Energy Rio Tinto Santos Shell Vanguard Wesfarmers Woolworths Limited