Last year’s proxy season is going to be a tough one to follow. 2021 saw a record 35 ESG-oriented shareholder proposals garner majority support – a more than 50% rise on the previous year, attributed to the heft of the big US mutual funds which are increasingly inclined to support such proposals.
There was also a profound shift in the US regulatory landscape under President Biden, particularly at the powerful securities regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
But, perhaps, the most dramatic was the election of three dissident directors onto the board of US oil giant ExxonMobil, chosen and backed by investors because of their ‘climate competence’.
But as we head into the 2022 proxy season, concerns are being raised about the impact those directors have been allowed to make. Chris Ailman, the CIO of the $309bn Californian public pension, CalSTRS, one of the first to back the campaign at Exxon, told Bloomberg last month th…