‘Main Street Investor’ Coalition Aims to Undermine Shareholder Rights

May 23, 2018 4:35 PM ET

May 23, 2018  /3BL Media/ - A new coalition backed by the National Association of Manufacturers aims to 'undermine critical shareholder rights that investors have long supported and relied on to help them effectively and efficiently protect the long-term value of their investments,' Ceres CEO and President Mindy said in a statement. 

Lubber added: 

Climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and other sustainability threats can pose significant material financial risks to many companies, particularly in industries like oil and gas, electric power, insurance, food and beverage, transportation and agriculture. Investors, as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), long have recognized that these threats can be material and that solutions to these threats present opportunities for investment portfolios. 

Through the shareholder proposal process, and other cost-effective engagement tools, investors have worked hard to ensure companies, where appropriate, disclose their exposure to these risk and act on them. By doing so, investors help to provide a valuable safeguard by promoting resilience in the companies, their portfolios, and ultimately, the U.S. economy as a whole. 

Creating obstacles for investors to offer non-binding shareholder resolutions — particularly when a growing number of shareholders are seeking more information from companies on how they are addressing major risks — is the exact wrong move at the exact wrong time. 

The investors, companies, and individuals of actual Main Street USA should not be fooled by the name of this new coalition, which appears to be a thinly veiled effort to protect those corporations that are unwilling and unprepared to adapt to a changing world — worsening risks for their employees and investors alike. 

Simply put, this new effort is an attempt to undermine the decades of progress by investors to get the information they need in order to make sound short and long-term investment decisions, and to spur companies to become more resilient as the world changes around them. Investors have been loud and clear that shareholder resolutions are not based on political whim—as this coalition insinuates—but based on promoting the financial strength of the companies they invest in. 

Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit www.ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.