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Olshan Partner Meagan Reda Quoted in Bloomberg on the Rise of Anti-ESG Shareholder Proposals

September 6, 2022

Olshan partner Meagan Reda was recently quoted in a Bloomberg article entitled “Conservative Shareholder Proposals Rise Amid Anti-ESG Rumbles”.  This year was a record proxy season with shareholder proposals rising 8% over 2021.  Most were ESG proposals, many focusing on climate and diversity.  There has also been an increase in conservative shareholder activism - this article discusses the rise in anti-ESG shareholder proposals, which while much smaller in number, have doubled this proxy season.  According to the article, the anti-ESG proposals correspond with a rise in conservative anti-ESG sentiment and attack issues such as racial justice and corporate donations.  Most have garnered extremely weak shareholder support, often getting less than 3 percent of votes.  Even with their low chances of success, they are not expected to subside because they are largely intended to send a message to CEOs and fuel the need for more discussions and due diligence.  Meagan said, “In many ways, anti-ESG proposals represent the politicization of corporate America’s proxy system.”  She further explained that neither ESG or anti-ESG proposals can be ignored by companies, stating, “Even if an anti-ESG proposal reflects the viewpoint of a very small constituency, it still serves as a reminder that there are stakeholders with differing viewpoints, and these proposals could result in more board deliberation.”  

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