- Erin Gray, Marketing & Strategic Analysis, Green Century Capital Management.
- Sonia Kowal, Director of Socially Responsible Investing, Zevin Asset Management, LLC.
- Jonas Kron, Deputy Director of ESG Research & Shareholder Advocacy, Trillium Asset Management.
- Indigo Teiwes, Manager, Strategic Planning Services, Ecova (Moderator).
So you’ve learned what the firms you invest in are doing to improve their sustainability (or not), and you think they could do better. Want to directly influence the practices of firms you invest in, but don’t own enough shares to get your own seat on the board? Investors who hold at least $2000 of a company’s shares for more than a year can make a shareholder resolution (500 words or less) to be voted on at the next shareholder meeting. Proxy voting—when shareholders vote by mail—can be used to support or oppose such resolutions. Exercising your shareholder rights is a powerful (if little-known) way for you to make a statement or even change corporate behavior.
From selecting portfolio firms based on their reporting to actively influencing company behavior, investors have more tools than ever to affect business practices. The question is, Will investors use those tools to make the firms they invest in more sustainable and responsive?
Jacen Greene is a social enterprise consultant based in Portland, Oregon.