Shareholder Resources

Recent Reports About Shareholder Proposal Issues

The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap For Sustainability is a vision and practical roadmap for integrating sustainability into the DNA of business. It analyzes the drivers, risks and opportunities involved in making the shift to sustainability, and details strategies and results from companies who are taking on these challenges.

Carbon Bubble: Are the World’s Financial Markets Carrying a Carbon Bubble? states that already in 2011, the world has used over a third of its 50-year carbon budget of 886 Gt of CO2, leaving 565 Gt of CO2. All of the proven reserves owned by private and public companies and governments are equivalent to 2,795 Gt of CO2. Only 20% of the total reserves can be burned unabated, leaving up to 80% of assets technically unburnable.

Ceres Aqua Gauge: A Framework for 21st Century Water Risk Management introduces experts and newcomers alike to the Ceres Aqua Gauge, a new framework for assessing corporate management of water risk. The report provides an overview of how competing freshwater demands and limits to supply are beginning to affect corporate financial performance in a range of industrial sectors.

Controlling Fugitive Methane Emissions in the Oil and Gas Sector calls on governments in oil and gas producing countries to determine whether they have effective regulations in place to minimize methane emissions. The joint statement by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, the Investor Network on Climate Risk, and the Investors Group on Climate Change also encourages intensive gas users and governments in oil and gas importing regions to consider playing a role in encouraging control of methane emissions.

Corporate Governance of Political Expenditures: 2011 Benchmark Report on S&P 500 Companiesfinds that corporate accountability and disclosure of political expenditures is on the upswing, with the boards of 31% of S&P 500 companies now explicitly overseeing such spending, compared to 23% in 2010. However, this increased oversight and transparency does not necessarily translate into less spending, as companies with board oversight of political expenditures spent about 30% more in 2010 than those without such explicit policies.

CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability provides a comprehensive look at how S&P 100 companies are navigating political spending disclosure and board oversight since Citizens United. Findings in this second annual report indicate corporate disclosure of political spending is now a mainstream corporate practice.

Disclosing the Facts: Transparency and Risk in Methane Emissions focuses on the critical risk of methane emissions and how companies are managing methane reduction, reflecting rising investor concern that excessive methane emissions from oil and gas operations will undercut the potential net climate benefit of substituting natural gas for coal, especially in decarbonizing energy markets.

Discovering Shale Gas: An Investor’s Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing of Shale Plays explores in detail the environmental and social impacts of shale gas development in the United States, identifying key questions for investors and also broader issues about shale gas development’s implications for extending the era of fossil fuel dominance. The report includes comparative profiles of 10 publicly traded shale gas developers.

Do the Investment Math: Building a Carbon Free Portfolio calculates the incremental risk of divesting from coal and major carbon-producing industries and finds that such divestment does not increase portfolio risk. An updated version of the original paper that expands beyond the United States to include global equity markets, Building a Carbon-Free Equity Portfolio , is now available.

Effective Supply Chain Accountability: Investor Guidance on Implementation of The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and Beyond identifies good corporate practices to ensure corporate compliance with the law, the business case for compliance, shareholder expectations, and the elements of a comprehensive human rights due diligence framework.

Examining the Cracks in the Ceiling surveys the corporate diversity practices of S&P 500 and provides an in-depth analysis of the 10 Key Diversity Indicators used to rate them. Along with a helpful executive summary which highlights four key findings, the report provides a number of examples of corporate leaders and laggards on the issue of workplace diversity.

Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation: Cause, Effect and Solution challenges the peer group process in setting CEO pay by proposing a method of internal metrics and internal benchmarking, thus taking a step toward delivering a more shareholder acceptable CEO compensation.

Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework establishes the first global set of business and human rights guidelines. The three guiding principles encompass the U.S.’ obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms, the role of business to comply with all laws and respect human rights, and the need for appropriate and effective remedies when rights and obligations are breached.

Handbook on Corporate Political Activity: Emerging Governance Issues helps guide company management and directors by setting out policies, procedures, and emerging best practices for responsible political spending. Citing cases of public reaction and criminal prosecution, the handbook forthrightly discusses the risks and consequences companies face from ill-considered spending decisions.

More Jobs, Less Pollution: Growing the Recycling Economy in the U.S. shows the economic and environmental benefits of achieving a 75 percent national recycling rate, including job creation — particularly in manufacturing, pollution reduction and the strengthening of local communities and employment bases. 

Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2012reviews updated evidence on the use of tobacco by youths and young adults including health consequences, epidemiology, etiological factors, tobacco industry influences, and effective efforts to prevent or reduce tobacco use.

Proxy Guide: Resources collects a variety of websites, publications, experts, and organizations focused on shareholder proposals.

Seeking Safer Packaging surveys major brand name companies and identifies which are responding to consumer concern about the health hazards of BPA by switching to substitute packaging.

Shale: Water First, Leak Later: The Climate Benefits of Shale Gas Could Leak and Wash Awaydiscusses how methane leakage and water usage rates are eroding the climate argument for shale gas.

Sourcing Framework for Food and Food Packaging Products Containing Nanomaterials is first-of-its-kind framework is designed to help food companies make informed decisions regarding sourcing products containing nanomaterials.

The 2018 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide includes all ICCR member-sponsored shareholder proposals for the upcoming proxy season. Resolutions address investor concerns around human rights and supply chain accountability, financial practices and risk, health care, food and water sustainability, environmental health, and corporate governance.

Unfinished Business: The Case for Extended Producer Responsibility for Post-Consumer Packaging describes how shifting the responsibility for the costs associated with post-consumer packaging from taxpayers to packing producers would boost the U.S. recycling rates and boost jobs. It also presents new research finding that $11 billion of recyclable materials are wasted annually in the U.S.

Waste & Opportunity: U.S. Beverage Container Recycling Scorecards and Report evaluates new and ongoing efforts by beverage producers to reduce source materials, create recyclable product packaging, and increase container recovery rates.

Update: Financial Risks of Investments in Coal assesses the financial risks of continued reliance on coal for electricity generation. It updates As You Sow’s 2011 white paper on the same topic with the current trends underlying the financial risks to coal, including increasing capital costs for environmental controls and declining natural gas prices.

Selected Organizations and Investor Campaigns

The Carbon Disclosure Project is the world’s largest institutional investor collaborative—with a combined $57 trillion of assets under management—on the business implications of climate change. CDP’s website is the largest repository of corporate greenhouse gas emissions data in the world.

Center for Political Accountability is a non-partisan organization created to bring transparency and accountability to corporate political spending and to inform shareholders about corporate political expenditures.

Center for Social Philanthropy offers strategies for fully leveraged philanthropy, including mission- and program-related investing and active ownership initiatives.

Center for Responsible Lending is a non-partisan organization that works to protect homeownership and family wealth by fighting predatory lending practices.

Ceres is the largest U.S. coalition of investor groups, environmental organizations, and investment funds that engages directly with companies on environmental and social issues. It coordinates investor networks, develops investor educational materials, and founded the Global Reporting Initiative.

Confluence Philanthropy is a network of practitioners that builds capacity and provides technical assistance to enhance the ability of foundations and nonprofits to pursue mission-related investing strategies.

Environmental Grantmakers Association serves as the membership organization for progressive environmental philanthropy and provides learning opportunities and peer resources on aligning mission and investment strategies.

Fund Votes is an independent project started in 2004 that tracks mutual fund proxy voting in the U.S. and Canada. The indexed dataset of more than 30 million voting records supports research into a wide range of issues related to investor advocacy and corporate governance.

Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) is the U.S.’s largest animal protection organization. HSUS advocates for better laws to protect animals, conducts industry reform campaigns, provides animal rescue and emergency response, investigates cases of animal cruelty, and cares for animals via sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters, and clinics.

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in assets under management have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability.

Investor Environmental Health Network is a collaborative partnership of investment managers and nongovernmental organizations concerned about the financial and public health risks associated with corporate toxic chemicals policies. Through dialogue and shareholder resolutions, IEHN encourages companies to adopt policies to systematically reduce and eliminate the toxic chemicals in their products.

Investor Network on Climate Risk is a $5 trillion network of investors that promotes better understanding of the financial risks and opportunities posed by climate change.

Investors Against Genocide is a citizen-led initiative dedicated to encouraging mutual funds and other investment firms to make an ongoing commitment to genocide-free investing by avoiding companies that substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity.

Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC) Institute is a leading funder of environmental, social, and corporate governance research on corporate responsibility and investing. The IRRC Institute ensures the availability of its funded research through the sponsorship of the Social Science Research Network’s Corporate Governance Network that serves as an online repository for thousands of research papers and abstracts.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world with more than three million members and supporters. PETA focuses its attention on four main areas in which the largest number of animals suffer the most intensely including factory farms: the clothing trade, laboratories, and the entertainment industry.

Responsible Endowments Coalition is a diverse network of students, alumni, and faculty from across the country dedicated to advancing socially and environmentally responsible investment in college and university endowments.

Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals is comprised principally of corporate secretaries and business executives in governance, ethics, and compliance functions at public, private, and not-for-profit organizations. Members support their board of directors and executive management in matters such as board practices, compliance, regulation and legal matters, shareholder relations, and subsidiary management.

Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders aims to strengthen, diversify, and expand the community of grantmakers that focus on sustainable agriculture and food systems. SAFSF offers a study group for funders interested in deeper learning and sharing around finance and investing for social change.

Sustainable Endowments Institute provides research, educational publications, and workshops on the sustainability investment practices of university endowments. It also publishes an annual College Sustainability Report Card at

United for a Fair Economy conducts the Responsible Wealth Project, a network of over 750 business leaders, investors, and other wealthy individuals who work to build a fairer economy through shareholder activism, support for the living wage, and fair taxation work.

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is an SRI trade association which provides reports on industry initiatives, community investing, shareholder advocacy, divestment and screening, trends, and performance. It features shareholder news and proposals, web resources, action alerts, and an extensive links section.