IR Magazine has released a new report examining how companies actively engage in social and political issues. The report investigates the importance both IROs and investors attach to certain social issues and to corporate social activism in general. It looks at the level of engagement between investors and IROs on several different areas of social concern and examines how corporate stances on these issues can affect investment.
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The report is based on responses to the IR Magazine Global IRO Survey conducted in Q3 2022 and the IR Magazine Global Investor Survey conducted in Q4 2022.
- A majority of companies have a policy to refuse to do business with certain countries, states or regions for social or political reasons.
- More than *** in 10 companies have a policy to refuse to do business with other corporations or institutions for social or political reasons.
- The most common reason for refusal to do business with countries, companies or institutions is invasion/occupation of territories or displacement of people, followed by racial and ethnic discrimination and employment rights.
- The most common socio-political issue for IROs to receive questions on from investors is environmental attitudes.
- Just under *** in 10 investors have asked companies about their environmental stance in the past five years.
- On all identified issues in this report, at least *** of IROs think it is important or very important for their company to have a stated position.
- European IROs are the most enthusiastic about the importance of companies’ stated socio-political views, while North American IROs tend to have a lesser view of the importance of corporate socio-political stances.
- Investors have a lesser view of the importance of corporate socio-political stances than IROs, yet the majority of investors express the importance of companies having a stated position on all identified issues bar LGBTQ+ rights.
- Globally, *** in 10 investors say a company’s attitudes to both employment rights and the environment will have at least a moderate effect on their decision to invest.
- Approaching *** of IROs think companies should be active in social issues, with just *** percent disagreeing.
- Just under *** in 10 IROs believe companies should strive for neutrality in most socio-political issues. This rises to more than *** in 10 among investors.
- The idea that companies should focus on their core mission and comment only on issues that affect that mission is supported by *** percent of IROs, while *** percent disagree.
- As with the statement on socio-political neutrality, there is more support among investors than IROs for this statement, although still not as much as there is among investors for socio-political engagement.
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