More than 70 percent of US retail investors believe companies must be held accountable for any environmental or social damages they cause, according to activist investing platform Tulipshare.
Despite the high percentage of surveyed retail investors holding companies responsible for ESG damages, less than half (40 percent) of respondents use their shareholder vote at AGMs to tackle this issue.
Research conducted among 1,000 US adults in March by Tulipshare finds AGM turnout in the US is consistently low across all age groups. Notably, the 18-24 age bracket leads the pack with a 52 percent turnout rate, followed by 37 percent of those aged 25-34, 33 percent of those aged 35-44, 34 percent of 45-54-year-olds and 41 percent of the over-55s.
When asked whether they considered their votes influential at a company’s AGM, however, only 31 percent of respondents say yes.
Know your shareholder rights
The survey also reveals how traditional brokers and investment platforms need to do more in educating investors about their shareholder rights, with only 47 percent of surveyed adults saying they had received a notification from their provider informing them they were eligible to vote at a company’s upcoming AGM.
Of investors who were given the correct tools by their broker or investment platform, only 48 percent say they received information regarding what was on the voting ballot.
Antoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare, says: ‘Our survey finds that only 38 percent of retail investors in the US find the current means of voting easily accessible. Despite growing interest around shareholder activism, the percentage of environmental and social proposals that pass is still considerably low.
‘In order to generate real impact, we need all investors to use their money, take ownership of their investments and exercise their shareholder rights to create lasting, positive change – the change traditional brokers, asset managers and institutional investors are failing to prioritize.
‘It is naive for any investor, asset manager or financial institution to claim zero responsibility for the transition to a low-carbon economy or find duty in voting against proposals that would ensure basic human rights are met across some of the biggest supply chains in the world.’