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MRTI committee approves ‘Shareholder Resolutions Directory with Proxy Voting Recommendations’

The guide is designed to aid investors who want to align with denominational guidelines

by Shani E. McIlwain | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Bram Naus via Unsplash

The Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved this year’s proxy voting guide during its stated meeting on March 2.. The recommendations will next go before the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board for consideration in May.

The “2024 Shareholder Resolutions Directory with Proxy Voting Recommendations” is designed to assist the Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Foundation, and others who want to invest in line with denominational recommendations. This is also a way to connect the Mark 8 text of how to show up publicly proclaiming faithful witness.

The 12-page document helps Presbyterian individuals and entities ensure their investments are aligned with denomination policy. There can be power in numbers. When enough shareholders are aligned with the voting guide, a company’s management often takes notice and consider changing course to be more aligned with PC(USA)’s stance and policies.

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility is a coalition of faith- and values-based investors who view shareholder engagement with corporations as a powerful catalyst for change. The guiding principle as shareholders is that sustainable corporations must look beyond the next earnings report to account for the full impact of their businesses and must take into account the well-being of all of their stakeholders.

MRTI reviewed the 368 resolutions that faith and values-based investors submitted to 239 corporations, a slight decrease from the 377 resolutions filed at 227 companies in 2023. Additionally, this year, MRTI included 24 resolutions related to reproductive health care issues, which are not included in the ICCR guide. Many of these resolutions will not appear on the proxy statement when it is mailed to shareholders if agreements are reached beforehand.

Based on General Assembly policy, MRTI examines the new resolution topics and adopts recommendations on voting of proxies in support of or in opposition to these resolutions, or whether a formal vote of abstention should be recorded. This year, MRTI voted to support all of the new resolution topics.

Katie Carter

Katie Carter, the director of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement, says this year’s guide focuses on a variety of issues, but still includes many that are focused on climate and racial justice. “This year, in addition to many resolutions investors have filed on climate issues, we are seeing a growing number of resolutions concerning Artificial Intelligence,” Carter said. “We expect this issue to continue gaining importance amongst investors.”

The voting season generally runs from April through June. However, some companies have their annual meeting of shareholders outside of those months. To view the guide, go here.

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