Featured: Proxy Season

Big Chill: Political backlash and legal threats sap shareholder support for climate action and ESG. Shareholders are voting on a record number of resolutions related to corporate action on climate and environmental, social and governance factors at this year’s annual meetings. But support for such resolutions is flagging as major asset managers recalibrate their proxy-voting strategies in the face of a coordinated campaign by Republican state attorneys general, including threats of legal action. Last year, more than 30 proposals won majority approval. “We’re nowhere near that,” said Heidi Welsh of the Sustainable Investments Institute. “The really big players are stepping back. They’re spooked a bit by the anti-ESG rhetoric.” Today’s test: shareholder resolutions at ExxonMobil’s annual general meeting that call on the oil giant to detail the risks of climate-related litigation, report on methane emissions, and quantify the costs of retiring assets to comply with net-zero scenarios, among other proposals. 

Dealflow: Sustainable Securitizations 

Sun King raises $130 million through securitization of off-grid solar payments. Public agencies and private companies from California to Cote d’Ivoire are leveraging cash flows to finance climate adaptation and green initiatives. Social enterprise Sun King has struck a deal to securitize $130 million in current and future customer payments for its solar products. The debt financing is denominated in Kenyan shillings and backed by British International Investment, Stanbic Bank Kenya, Citi and other development finance and banking institutions. “This securitization could be key to unlocking the extensive capital needed to fund solar energy initiatives at the scale the climate crisis requires,” said Sun King’s Anish Thakkar. BII and Stanbic separately provided Sun King with $20 million in working capital. 

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Former Enel CEO Francesco Starace joins EQT Infrastructure as a partner… Elemental Excelerator is hiring a chief of staff in the San Francisco Bay Area… Root Capital is looking for a gender equity advisor in Indonesia… The Alliance for Community Development seeks an executive director in San Francisco… Aspen Institute and Rutgers University are hosting the Employee Ownership Ideas Forum in Washington, DC, June 14-15. 

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