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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

On Monday, Liz blogged on about the new “iconik” app that is intended to encourage users – everyday retail investors – to crowdsource their stockholder voting power. Liz said:

The app’s website includes this “voting agreement & revocable proxy,” along with this summary of what the founders hope to accomplish:

– On iconik, people run campaigns to help make changes at publicly traded companies. Campaigns can be about almost anything, from better corporate governance to increasing share value (and everything in-between).

– Simply purchase shares and delegate your voting rights to the campaign organizer. You will always own the shares, but now those voting rights are going towards something that matters.

She continued by saying “many retail investors today feel like they’re more likely to vote and care about E&S issues. iconik’s CEO was inspired by the meme stock rally, and he’s banking on the possibility that retail investors are willing to sacrifice diversification for influence.” One campaign already launched targets JPMorgan to stop lending to fossil fuel companies.

Don’t forget that earlier this year, SEC Division of Corporation Finance (CorpFin) issued Staff Legal Bulletin (SLB) 14L that, as John Jenkins wrote “effectively takes a sledgehammer to four years of interpretive guidance on the exclusion of ESG-related shareholder proposals from proxy statements. In doing so, the new SLB may open the door for the inclusion of a wide range of previously excludable ESG proposals.”

Wow – if proponents can encourage support for shareholder proposals using phone apps and more proposals are allowable, the 2022 proxy season is looking like it will be a wild ride.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile