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Shareholder Proposals Challenge Companies on Support for Politicians Opposing Abortion Access, Progress on Climate, Voting Rights

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Institutional investors, in coordination with Rhia Ventures, have filed 11 shareholder proposals for the 2022 proxy season that address the misalignment between the corporation's stated values and their support for politicians and political groups who undermine them. An additional four proposals focus on companies' preparedness for the workplace repercussions of the likely overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022. Collectively, the investors own or manage $11.8 billion in assets.
Shareholder Proposals Challenge Companies on Support for Politicians Opposing Abortion Access, Progress on Climate, Voting Rights
In the 2021 proxy season, three proposals addressed values misalignment, receiving an average of 38% level of support. (One proposal at Pfizer received over 47% in support.) The strong votes demonstrated that a growing proportion of shareholders want corporations to think twice before funding politicians without regard to their positions on fundamental issues that challenge the sustainability of the workforce, the environment, and our democratic institutions.After the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, numerous companies vowed to reassess their political giving criteria. Still, numerous companies that pledged to discontinue support for members of Congress who challenged the election results have backtracked on their promises.The majority of the 2022 proposals call on companies to report publicly at least once a year on "the congruence of political and electioneering expenditures during the preceding year against publicly stated company values and policies and disclosing or summarizing any actions taken regarding pausing or terminating support for organizations or politicians, and the types of incongruent policy advocacy triggering those decisions." They point to instances where the companies are funding the members of Congress who challenged the election results and those working to erode access to health care (including reproductive health care), slow progress on climate change and restrict voter access to the polls and LGBTQ rights.
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