At Reynders, McVeigh our shareholder engagement efforts are not solely political or motivated by morals, it is this combined with economics. Our investment discipline is based on identifying companies that exhibit both potential for financial returns and positive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) footprints. We believe incorporating the latter into our investment decision-making process mitigates risks and upholds the highest fiduciary standard.

When you begin to unpack what ESG promotes, the notion of stakeholder capitalism comes to the forefront. This is the evolution of companies working to create value for all stakeholders which includes customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and other affected groups and not just shareholders. We seek to identify companies that make business, investment and ongoing decisions with all stakeholders in mind and believe that those that do are the result of many, persistent efforts by firms like ours speaking up in collaboration with communities, non-governmental organizations, shareholder coalitions and others. It is the result of observers becoming participants to lend a voice or amplifier to issues that may otherwise go unnoticed in the corporate arena.

A timely example of this is our 2020 proxy voting results. Last year, we voted proxy ballots for 627 companies. These ballots consisted of 7,496 proposals of which 365 or 4.9% were shareholder proposals, meaning that most proposals were put forward by management. We voted in favor of 357 or 98% of the 365 shareholder proposals and against management for 353 of 97% of the shareholder proposals.

While there is plenty of work ahead, we look forward to the 2021 proxy season and promoting a fair, sustainable, equitable and just future for all stakeholders. We thank our partners, Ceres, Basic, As You Sow, the Confluence of Philanthropy, Wise, FAIRR, ICCR and others for their continued leadership and collaboration and value the achievements gained through our work.

If you are interested in learning more about our shareholder engagement efforts, please read our 2020 Shareholder Engagement Newsletter or contact us directly.