Shareholder resolutions are one of the only ways for investors to have impact on public companies

And they’re under threat. The Trump administration and legislators are pushing a proposal to make it harder for shareholders to get a vote on issues of concern, including corporate responsibility and sustainability.

The legislation would require shareholders to own one percent of a company’s shares for three years in order to propose resolutions, a sharp increase from today’s threshold of $2,000 in shares.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, called it “outrageous and inequitable that we would not be able to make requests of corporate boards through shareholder resolutions,” according to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a trustee.

A report from Ceres said shareholder proposals are an “essential and cost-effective tool for investors to protect and enhance the value of their investments.” Corporate opposition to shareholder proposals are a reflection of their growing popularity: last year, 61 percent of resolutions that made it to a vote received 25 percent or more support, up from 31 percent in 2000.

In 2016, out of 1,000 proposals filed, 400 targeted social and environmental issues, while more than 500 dealt with governance.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha's daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: Directorpoint

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