How can we make companies change?
Lots of universities hold investments in companies, known as shares. Anyone who invests in a company, has a say over how the company is run. We’re calling on universities to use their power as shareholders to actively engage – and vote - at company AGMs.
This year, campaigners are calling for companies to change.
Everywhere you look companies are making sustainability commitments – but where is the action?
What does net zero mean if you’re still funding new fossil fuel projects?
What is ‘caring about the planet’ if you’re driving deforestation and displacement of communities?
Just look at the big banks - despite many net zero targets and commitments to climate action, the biggest UK banks have poured £230 billion into fossil fuels since the Paris Climate Agreement.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
We need to demand that our universities support campaign groups calling for change at company AGMs.
Check out ShareAction’s list of Resolutions to Watch to see where there are shareholder resolutions to support.
What can you do?
Standard Chartered - stop funding new fossil fuels!
Despite the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) clear conclusion that there should be no more new investment in new coal, oil and gas infrastructure, Standard Chartered are still funding new fossil fuel projects.
The resolution, tabled by Market Forces, calls on the bank to match its ‘Net Zero by 2050’ rhetoric with action and end the bank’s misaligned financing of fossil fuels.
Get your university to vote in favour and support! Check if your university is invested in Standard Chartered.
What is an AGM?
An AGM (Annual General Meeting) is a gathering of a company’s shareholders which happens every year. It’s an opportunity for shareholders to raise issues and have their say on the company’s performance and strategy.
What is a resolution?
In the simplest terms, a resolution is a proposal submitted – this can be by shareholders or the company board - to be voted on at the AGM, directing the company to take some form of action.
What can universities do?
Universities may be direct shareholders of companies, such as Barclays or HSBC, and therefore have a vote at the AGM, for example, for or against resolutions. This can be directly or via investment managers who invest in companies on behalf of the university.
As shareholders, universities can ask questions at AGMs, which the board have to answer. This brings issues directly to the attention to the board, as well as the rest of their shareholders, whose interests they are legally bound to represent.
Finally, universities can use their voice to publicly support and raise awareness of AGMs and specific resolutions, encouraging shareholders to vote.