BDO has just published its 2020 Shareholder Meeting Agenda, which digs in to the key shareholder issues that corporate management and boards should be prepared to discuss.
Heading into their annual meetings, shareholders have made clear that a strong corporate culture and actions to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are as important as navigating regulatory changes and growth pursuits. For board directors and corporate management, demonstrating leadership integrity and accountability for these matters should be their top priorities.
- The Business Risks of Climate Change: Shareholders and investors are calling for greater board oversight of environmental issues and reporting on relevant metrics, including carbon emissions, deforestation and plastic pellet pollution. Management needs to prove they understand the specific climate risks that may impact their bottom lines, which vary significantly by business and industry.
- Political Transparency: Companies face reputational risk of any real or perceived contradiction between their mission and the campaigns or lobbying efforts they support. In response, shareholders are requesting disclosures related to companies’ political spends, including donations to candidates and lobbyists.
- Workplace & Pay Equality: Further regulation on these matters are likely, but shareholders want to see how companies are proactively embracing diversity. In addition to recruitment practices, business leaders should demonstrate their commitment to equality and inclusion when it comes to closing the pay gap.
- Combatting Workplace Misconduct: It’s corporate leaders’ duties to set the tone of intolerance. Shareholders are pushing for voluntary reporting on sexual harassment and stronger prevention policies. They’ll want to know management’s take on nondisclosure agreements and how they’re holding individuals accountable for misconduct.
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