Corporate Social Issues: US 2011 Proxy Season Preview

Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 3, 2011

ISS’ annual pre-season outreach to U.S. social issues shareholder proponents indicates that the 2011 social issues proxy season may be almost as busy as last year’s, but while it will feature many familiar issues, the balance of resolutions has shifted — in some cases substantially.

Key Findings

  • After last year's landmark Citizens United Supreme Court decision, resolutions on corporate political contributions are more numerous and more varied.
  • The environment is once again the largest issue area, with proposals on the risks of coal prominently featured.
  • Following the success of previous proxy season efforts, the number of resolutions on sustainability is falling.
  • Institutional investors appear to be increasingly incorporating social and environmental considerations into their proxy voting decisions, as demonstrated by voting trends and institutional investor initiatives.

Report Authors: Carolyn Mathiasen and Erik Mell, with contributions from Alex Gallimore and Eric Shostal