As of the beginning of this year's shareholder season, 417 social and environmental resolutions have been filed — more than ever before.
According to our allies at As You Sow (publishers of the annual Proxy Preview) proposals on climate change, energy, and their related risks—as well as interconnected questions about corporate sustainability strategies and transparency—make up the bulk of the resolutions, about 40 percent.
Resolutions related to political spending make up about a third of the total, with human-rights and governance issues rounding out the rest.
Here's our top resolutions to watch this year, to help you vote your proxies in favor of social and environmental responsibility. (Find a sample proxy-ballot how-to here.)
Remember that if you invest in mutual funds, you automatically delegate your proxy voting rights to the fund managers, so it is important to invest in funds that share your values.
"Every day we are researching companies and applying the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility," says John Streur, president of Portfolio 21, a socially responsible investing firm, explaining how his company picks investments. "There are companies attempting to greenwash the truth. Our job is to find the truth and apply our research process to select the leaders."
Voting your proxies on climate issues with conventional companies is one way to use your investing to take action for the climate. You can also invest in fossil-fuel-company-free funds from Portfolio 21 and others.