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The L-Blast | May 2022

The L-Blast

As predicted, this year’s proxy season is proving to be an especially active one, particularly in the areas of environmental and social issues. As annual meetings wind down, we have a good idea of how trends affecting these issues are shaping up. In this month’s L-Blast, we bring you a preview of voting trends and insights into this year’s proxy season.

We hope you find this information helpful and assists your directors as the proxy season wraps up. As always, let us know if you have any questions regarding the topics shared in this L-Blast, or if you need help with your proxy disclosures or shareholder outreach initiatives.

By Madison Lewis & Kevin Kuschel

As we hit the midpoint of the 2022 proxy season, shareholders and investors continue to shift focus towards untraditional topics compared to prior year’s proxy seasons. At the forefront of these conversations sits ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and human capital management (HCM) matters. Boards are now establishing committees specific to such issues as human rights/diversification, sustainability and environmental as a means of concentrating on these growing areas of focus.

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On January 6, Katten Capital Markets partner Farzad Damania, along with Zally Ahmadi of D.F. King, George Lu of ADEC ESG Solutions and Ari Frankel of Solebury Trout, presented a program sharing their insights into the trends in ESG shareholder proposals and the steps companies should take to meet investor expectations.

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At Morningstar, hotly debated questions about trends in proxy voting are submitted to Jackie Cook. A native of South Africa and onetime Rhodes scholar, Cook has spent two decades studying financial data related to corporate governance and investor advocacy about environmental, social, and governance issues. Today, she heads up a stewardship advisory program at Sustainalytics, Morningstar’s sustainability research arm.

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