20 May 2021 Leftists’ Shareholder Agenda Announced
“Shareholder season” is now underway for 2021.
This is the time of year – after the release of first quarter earnings reports – when so many publicly traded companies hold their annual investor gatherings to elect their boards, confirm their auditors and consider shareholder proposals and questions.
The left, which has long dominated these meetings, has shown its hand for this year. But it’s not like it was ever being secretive about it. It actually boldly announces its intentions for the future of corporate America in an annual report.
And it’s a scary proposition.
As Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Deputy Director Scott Shepard explains in a Townhall commentary:
Each year the As You Sow organization publishes a compendium of the [environmental, social and governance, or ESG] proposals submitted to U.S. corporations by it and members of its broad, left-wing activist coalition. A review of those proposals establishes the point: ESG is not about businesses doing good. It is about forcing the “Great Awokening” even further into American business.
While a great deal of the left’s pressure on businesses recently has been a focused attack on “the fundamental foundation of our democracy – free and fair elections” – and Georgia’s election integrity law in particular, Scott warns that “the attempt at woke corporate control emerging in Georgia is merely a beginning.”
Calling this year’s proposals “the worst excesses of wokeness,” Scott lays out the main threats to liberty at this year’s shareholder meetings:
- “’Try to be less white‘ is, for the ESG crowd, not an accident, but a preview,” Scott reports. Over 100 quota proposals are wrapped in terms such as antiracism and equity, but “would bring racism and sexism to every facet of our work lives, forever.”
- More than 50 proposals address self-regulation related to climate issues, banging the drum for action with a series of doomsday claims. Even though it’s doubtful the policies advocated by those proposals would be effective, they would certainly and inevitably “make living in America costlier and less rewarding for normal Americans.” And Scott is certain that “this is a goal, not an accident,” since China and India would not be similarly hobbled.
- Companies are even being pressured to “undermine the[ir] long-term profitability” by “lobby[ing] only for hard-left causes” and opposing commonsense ideas for businesses “such as honest voting, viewpoint-nondiscrimination, business-supporting levels of taxation and the like.” Over 60 companies are under “stakeholder capitalist” assault to act more like a charitable “public-benefit corporation” than an investment-fueled enterprise with a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders.
“Crushing liberty at home while disarming against a communist menace,” writes Scott. “There’s your ESG, right there.”
In opposition to the left’s agenda, FEP regularly participates in shareholder meetings. On the issue of election integrity, for instance, FEP has asked the CEOs of Coca-Cola, American Express, Pfizer and more to explain themselves – with surprising results.
Check out the FEP website to learn more about the impact of shareholder activism during this year’s shareholder season. And download FEP’s Investor Value Voter Guide to get FEP’s advice on the best way to vote on many of this season’s most contentious shareholder proposals.
To read all of Scott’s commentary – “New Document Reveals Woke Shareholder Activists’ Battleplan for 2021” – click here to link to the Townhall website.