The historic shareholder revolt at Exxon last month, which saw investors replace three of the oil giant’s board with their own ‘climate competent’ picks, sent a clear message to boards across the world: failure to prepare for the low-carbon transition is now a sackable offence.
Board competence on the ‘S’ of ESG, however, does not seem to be anywhere near as high on the agenda for investors, judging by support for resolutions at Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet recently.
The Californian tech giants were asked in a proposal filed by US activist investor Arjuna Capital to nominate a human rights expert for election to their boards. But just 4% of investors supported the proposal at Facebook; 10% at Alphabet; and 14% at Twitter.
The proposals included examples of the firms’ roles in controversies such as voter suppression, misinformation and hate speech.
“Human and civil rights abuses at the social media companies represent the same kind of …