the shareholder commons blog

click on a post to read more

2024 Guardrails: AGM Season

2024 Guardrails: AGM Season

Our guardrails are in full swing, and investors are increasingly seeing them as tools to protect their portfolios. Investor-mediated guardrails define company operational parameters that safeguard diversified portfolio value, discouraging corporate behavior that...

read more
Proxy Season 2024 | Update on Guardrails

Proxy Season 2024 | Update on Guardrails

As regular readers may know, we’re supporting investors in running two “guardrails” this year: one on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and one on poverty wages and income inequality, the latter in partnership with our colleagues at ShareAction. We predicate all our work...

read more
Portfolios on the Ballot 2024

Portfolios on the Ballot 2024

Our 2024 proxy voting guide is the first publication specifically designed to help investors vote their proxies on a systems-first basis. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT We have collected nearly 60 shareholder initiatives that integrate arguments in the proposal or...

read more
TSC Announces Living Wage Guardrail

TSC Announces Living Wage Guardrail

Poverty wages don’t just undermine workers: inequality perpetuated by low pay at companies such as Walgreens Boots Alliance (NYSE: WBA) threatens the national and global economies with losses that will burden investment portfolios for years to come. Closing the living...

read more
Living Wage and the Engagement Gap

Living Wage and the Engagement Gap

Living Wage & the Engagement Gap Today we publish our new research, “Living Wage and the Engagement Gap,” on the systemic risk of low wages and income inequality to diversified portfolio value, which depends on critical social and environmental systems. Among...

read more
Report from the Field

Report from the Field

Regular readers know our chief complaint about the investing world: too much emphasis on the individual financial performance of portfolio companies, and too little on how those companies affect the systems that underpin investors’ entire portfolios. When push comes...

read more
A System Stewardship Response to ISS’ Policy Survey

A System Stewardship Response to ISS’ Policy Survey

We have provided our responses to the ISS 2023 Policy Survey. Our responses are largely based on the observation that the ISS benchmark voting guidelines are not designed to serve the average institutional investor, who holds a diversified portfolio or is managing...

read more
Launching a Guardrail on Antimicrobial Resistance

Launching a Guardrail on Antimicrobial Resistance

The global economy faces a US$100 trillion headwind over the next three decades from overuse of antimicrobials. TSC is working with institutional investors to implement a Guardrail campaign focused on overuse and abuse of antimicrobials in meat supply chains. The...

read more
The Portfolio Defense of ESG – SSIR

The Portfolio Defense of ESG – SSIR

Shareholders who want portfolio companies to improve their impact on society or the environment are hampered by their reliance on arguments that such changes will improve company value. Such arguments lack credibility when the requested changes are the very same...

read more
Portfolios on the Ballot 2024

Introducing TSC’s Proxy Voting Guide

Portfolios on the Ballot   Proxy season allows shareholders to tell companies how they want their capital applied in the real economy. Among other matters, shareholders can press for an end to extractive practices that threaten diversified investors’ financial...

read more
On a Lawsuit at Meta

On a Lawsuit at Meta

Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud On December 16, Meta made a little-noticed filing in response to a shareholder’s lawsuit against the Company and its directors. While the filing has remained largely under the radar, it speaks volumes about the reality of the...

read more
Proxy Season 2023: Teeing Up Guardrails

Proxy Season 2023: Teeing Up Guardrails

We’ve filed shareholder proposals at Hormel Foods (annual meeting date January 31), Tyson Foods (February 9), and McDonald’s (TBD) asking those companies to comply with World Health Organization (“WHO”) Guidelines on Use of Medically Important Antimicrobials in...

read more
You Want Us to Ignore What? A Brief Analysis of anti-ESG Political Rhetoric

You Want Us to Ignore What? A Brief Analysis of anti-ESG Political Rhetoric

Politicians are vilifying “ESG investing”. The trigger for the furor is political opportunism: because ESG issues often mirror political issues, it is easy to mischaracterize them as leftist activism. Texas has already incurred $300-500 million in extra interest obligations by boycotting banks that account for climate impact in their underwriting businesses. This political strategy protects corporations that externalize costs with business plans that don’t account for social and environmental costs. These politicians are enriching corporate executives, but risking the savings of workers.

read more
Regulation v. System Stewardship: The Fading Promise of Governmental Intervention

Regulation v. System Stewardship: The Fading Promise of Governmental Intervention

ESG activism has failed to stop companies from externalizing social and environmental costs when they can gain a financial advantage. Critics argue that shareholder activism by corporations and investors oversteps their proper sphere of influence in the U.S. Investor activism must focus on the conflict of interest that exists between individual companies and their diversified shareholders.

read more
Breaking Free from the Business Case Paradigm

Breaking Free from the Business Case Paradigm

Rick Alexander made an appearance on the Breaking the Fever podcast. Rick discusses the need for investors to shift their perspective from one that considers only one company to one that considers the entire portfolio.

read more
Response to System Stewardship Challenges

Response to System Stewardship Challenges

A recent article by Marcel Kahan and Edward B. Rock critiqued the sort of system stewardship we promote at TSC. But the authors do not really question the idea that in some circumstances diversified investment fiduciaries would want to address the threat from portfolio companies that externalize costs to other investees

read more
Johnson & Johnson Proposal Survives SEC Challenge

Johnson & Johnson Proposal Survives SEC Challenge

Johnson & Johnson sought to exclude our proposal asking for a report on the costs it externalizes by limiting access to its COVID-19 vaccine technology, and how its diversified shareholders absorb those costs. By rejecting both arguments, the SEC made clear that shareholders have a legitimate interest in voting on proposals that address the macroeconomic implications of a significant policy issue.

read more
Here Comes Proxy Season

Here Comes Proxy Season

Proxy season 2022 is right around the corner. This edition is dedicated to the 19 shareholder proposals we’re supporting this year. We also highlight a US$46B asset owner CEO’s public support for system stewardship.

read more
Hopeful Signs from a Difficult Year

Hopeful Signs from a Difficult Year

Let’s face it: 2021 brought plenty of disappointments. The pandemic ground on, democratic ideals appeared to be in retreat around the world, and the planet continued to accelerate toward and even past critical boundaries. But if we look upstream, 2021 also provided...

read more
The Beta Steward Proxy Review 2021

The Beta Steward Proxy Review 2021

This is the first yearly edition of The Shareholder Commons’ (TSC) Beta Steward Proxy Review, a progress report on how investors are reframing their shareholder engagement practices to prioritize beta stewardship.

read more
Our Letter to the DOL

Our Letter to the DOL

The Department proposed new ERISA rule on ESG investing may interfere with the obligations of retirement plans with respect to stewardship.

read more
Catching Up, Keeping Up

Catching Up, Keeping Up

A recording of the event is available here, and provides a good grounding in the theory behind our work, as well as our plan for shareholder-sanctioned limits

read more
A 3,000 Year Old Lesson

A 3,000 Year Old Lesson

Companies receiving government assistance should be required to adopt governance that prioritizes the future health of our social and environmental systems.

read more
Lessons From a Crisis

Lessons From a Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has raised attention to the broad systemic crisis we face and the need to respond accordingly to guarantee a future in which we all thrive.

read more
From Alpha to Beta: BlackRock and the ABCs of Sustainability

From Alpha to Beta: BlackRock and the ABCs of Sustainability

Last week saw the replaying of an annual ritual in the financial world. The ritual goes like this: Larry Fink, the Chairman of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, issues a letter talking about the importance of something other than financial measurements in...

read more
How Shareholders Can Save the Planet

How Shareholders Can Save the Planet

David Webber’s new book, The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon, might just as well have been titled, “How Shareholders Can Save the Planet.” Webber, a professor at the Boston University School of Law, has written a book that tells a...

read more
The Problem with Political Spending

The Problem with Political Spending

One key area of focus at The Shareholder Commons is equipping shareholders with the tools to limit corporate political spending. This article takes a few steps back in order to explain why limiting such spending is essential to our mission and to creating a just and...

read more
This Month’s Ramble: The Purpose of Purpose

This Month’s Ramble: The Purpose of Purpose

Given that The Shareholder Commons is all about making private enterprise act more responsibly, readers might believe we would be all about the current efforts to endow corporations with greater purpose. Larry Fink, who runs the largest asset management firm in the...

read more
Accountability Now: An Investor Call to Action

Accountability Now: An Investor Call to Action

5 Investment Principles to Measure and Manage Systemic Impact Worldwide equity markets are valued at $70 trillion, and venture capital and other private equity at $10 trillion. The owners of these securities control the private economy, which allocates most of our...

read more

Together, we're embarking on a fundamental transformation of our financial system...