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Considering a sustainability-driven shareholder resolution?

Posting in Environment

Investor group Ceres has created a guide for those who are faced with voting about a shareholder resolution focused on environmental, social or governance concerns.

Over the summer, I reported a couple of posts about the emergence of environment and sustainability related issues on corporate proxy statements. This year, Ernst & Young figures such propositions reached a record 40 percent of all shareholder resolutions suggested for consideration in 2011.

Enter a new guide from investor group Ceres that purports to help investors that need to vote about a proxy submission along these lines or that are looking for voting guidelines about sustainability issues including climate change risk, water availability factors, compensation tied to environmental, social and governance issues, and so on.

The guide, "Proxy Voting for Sustainability," culls tips culled from guidelines published by a wide variety of resources ranging from public pension funds to asset managers. Ceres said it suggests 75 specific best practices related to the issues mentioned above.

Said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and also direct of Investor Network on Climate Risk, said:

"Investors can no longer afford to ignore or abstain from taking a position on increasing environmental and social challenges companies are facing, including climate change, water scarcity and human rights. Shareholders have a fiduciary responsibility to vote their proxies on these issues, but in too many instances it isn't happening due to weak voting guidelines."

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure