The Proxy Preview 2014 is a progressive shareholder’s guide to the record-breaking 417 social and environmental shareholder resolutions filed this proxy season. The annual guide has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “Bible for socially progressive foundations, religious groups, pension funds, and tax-exempt organizations.” It includes:
– A re-cap of the 2013 proxy season
– In-depth analysis of the resolutions
– Background and resources on shareholder proposals and advocacy
– A user-friendly index of all companies facing social and environmental proposals this season, and
– Insights on key proposals and proxy voting from experts and proponents of proposals.
In a rush? Turn to the index and look up the company whose ballot you’re voting. At a color-coded glance, you’ll see which ones have social or environmental proposals on their ballots. Then turn to the section of the report focusing on the type of proposal on your company’s ballot, get a little background on the proponents and their motives, and decide how to cast your ballot.
Note: Except for some discussion of executive compensation proposals and board diversity, the Proxy Preview does not delve into governance issues in depth.
“Proxy Voting is Easier Than You Think,” is the title of the mini-essay Jonathan A. Scott contributed to the Proxy Preview 2014. Jon runs his family’s Singing Field Foundation. “In 2013,” the essay begins, “I was at a gathering of foundations and individuals involved in environmental and social change philanthropy. Not surprisingly, the subjects of shareowner engagement and proxy voting came up, repeatedly. Yet I was quite surprised to learn that many folks at this meeting were not yet voting their own proxies.” So he did what what anyone with superior web skills would do, and co-produced a webinar (with As You Sow and Clean Yield) called “How to Vote Your Proxies.” It walks the viewer through shareholder proposals on ExxonMobil’s 2013 ballot, so chosen because the oil giant attracts numerous proposals every year from shareholders. It also offers some useful nuggets of wisdom about cutting through jargon-filled, management-sponsored proposals focused on routine governance issues. And it’s amusing, to boot, with images of Jon’s dog and the Partridge Family deftly inserted to illustrate important points.