The rise of “anti-ESG” shareholder proposals

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This Morningstar article details the submission of some shareholder proposals to companies claiming to be ESG-oriented when they’re actually the opposite – it’s important to read through proposals and learn who filed them:

The shareholder proposals and underlying issues we’ve covered have mostly highlighted the advocacy efforts of sustainability-minded investors. The proposals they file at companies have been made in an earnest effort to secure long-term value for investors and other stakeholders, whether one shares the views of the proxies’ authors or not. Recently, though, we’ve seen an increase in what we’ve been calling ‘anti-ESG’ proposals. These are disingenuously submitted proposals, usually by groups that oppose the work of ‘pro-ESG’ investors.

Through conversations with multiple industry players, many on background, we get the sense that the intent behind some of these proposals is less to offer a constructive path to change and more to disrupt a movement that is gaining steam. The aim appears to be to hinder the work that pro-ESG groups are doing, by using the machinery of proxies against it and thereby negating the efficacy of legitimate pro-ESG proposals.