Corporate Targets of Shareholder Resolutions

This study examines social issues shareholder resolutions filed at S&P 500 companies in 2007. These firms received 86% of all social issues resolutions filed. Findings indicate that green resolutions were the most common single type (30% of social issues resolutions), but nearly one third (32%) of resolutions contained non-traditional content. Firms were more likely to be targeted if they were large in size and demonstrated poor treatment of employees and customers. As might be expected, the primary sponsors of social issues resolutions were socially responsible investment funds, religious groups, and pension funds. Surprisingly, over half (52%) of resolutions made it onto proxy ballots in 2007, while there was sufficient dialogue between the target companies and shareholder activists for filers to withdraw only 29% of the resolutions (although 41% of green resolutions were withdrawn). Resolution content and firm response differed by type of filer
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