Proxy voting is a component
of our democratic process that is an important force for moderating the excesses
of capitalism. As shareholders, we have the right and the responsibility to
understand critical aspects of the challenges facing the corporations in which
we have invested, and to express our views and concerns to the management. We do
this through the annual proxy voting process. Each year, companies ask the
guidance of shareholders on myriad governance issues such as selection of
auditors, board structure, share issuance, etc. In addition, shareholder
sponsored resolutions appear on annual proxy ballots to alert management to
shareholders views on key policy issues with social and financial impact. The
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) uses a proxy voting service, called Institutional Shareholder Services, which votes our shares by
proxy according to our strict Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) criteria. For more information see the UUA's
proxy voting policies:
Examples of high social impact proxy items that have appeared in recent years
Members of local
congregations often ask questions about how to understand the many issues that
appear in materials sent to them by companies in which they or their
congregations hold stock. Most issues appearing in proxy materials can be
categorized as follows:
The UUA Committee on Socially
Responsible Investing does not profess to be of help on the many financial
issues, most of which are particular to individual corporations, as are a number
of the Governance issues.
However, the other categories
of Social and Environmental issues, and some of the Governance issues, appear in
the proxy materials of several corporations, generally because of campaigns by
groups of institutional investors like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), of which
the UUA is a member, or other activist organizations such as labor unions and
human rights non-profits.
The links to the websites
listed below provide good explanations of these issues.
For more information on these
issues and guidance on how to vote your proxies see:
For more information contact responsibleinvesting @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Friday, June 17, 2011.
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