Learn how to influence companies to resist Trump's Agenda with our Indivisible-style guide.
Shareholders can influence companies by voting on company policy suggestions, called shareholder resolutions, found in the company's proxy statement each year. Past shareholder resolutions have asked companies to set greenhouse gas reduction goals, disclose political spending, fix human rights abuses, and close the gender pay gap.
What Is A Proxy?
If you own shares in a company, you get a proxy statement every spring in the mail or through your broker's website. The proxy allows you to elect members of the board. It also contains resolutions, which are non-binding propositions relating to company policies and practices. Although the votes are non-binding, companies often improve their practices even if the resolution gets a minority of the votes. Learn more about proxy voting here.
What Should I Vote For?
We recommend checking out As You Sow's proxy voting guide, which can help you navigate your proxies.
Pension and Mutual Fund Voting
Pension and mutual funds take care of proxy voting in house, but you can speak to your fund about improving its voting policy. You can also join a number of campaigns like this Public Citizen one, asking Vanguard to vote in favor of companies disclosing their spending on lobbying.
In addition to proxy voting, you can also file a shareholder resolution if you've owned $2,000 in a company for at least a year. The resolution can make it onto the company's proxy statement. Learn more with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility's shareholder resolution guide.
Every publicly traded company must have an annual meeting. At the annual meeting, the shareholder resolutions are presented, and people can comment on them. If you are a shareholder, you may attend the annual meeting and ask questions to management about the company's action on progressive policies.
Find out how companies are performing on issues you care about.
1. Check out Greener Change to look at your companies' environmental impact data.
2. Explore the Zicklin Index to find out more about your companies' political accountability.
3. Check out the Just Capital rankings, which does a broad analysis of company environmental and social performance.