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Reports 28 May 2018

Exploring the Impacts of Shareholder Activism on Sustainability

A Shareholder Activism for Sustainability Report

By Michael Harvey and Charlotte Pearson

Shareholder activism, where shareholders attempt to influence a company’s decisions by exercising their rights as owners, is on the rise. Much of this publicised activism has focused narrowly on improving financial performance, with potential implications for broader sustainability considerations.

Meanwhile, some investors and other activists, usually local and small in comparison, have been engaging companies on sustainability issues, with concrete results. However, these efforts are usually too diffuse and small-scale to achieve sustainability at the pace and scale required.

The Luc Hoffmann Institute and SustainAbility Shareholder Activism for Sustainability project aims to convene diverse thinking and practice on the issue of shareholder activism.

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The Luc Hoffmann Institute and SustainAbility Shareholder Activism for Sustainability project aims to convene diverse thinking and practice on the issue of shareholder activism and generate new insights into the intersection of this critical issue with sustainability.

In April 2018, the Luc Hoffmann Institute published Shareholder activism: Standing-up for sustainability? The report examines the current landscape and highlights opportunities, risks and challenges of shareholder activism for sustainability. Exploring the Impacts of Shareholder Activism on Sustainability builds further on that research.

This report provides insights on the shareholder activism landscape, describes the potential impact of financially and sustainability-motivated shareholder activism on corporate sustainability and presents opportunities to deepen thinking and support further collaboration and engagement on this critical issue.

Find out more about the Shareholder Activism for Sustainability project at https://luchoffmanninstitute.org/work/shareholder-activism-for-sustainability/.

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