We believe in empowering our investment clients by allowing them to not only invest in companies that have strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards but also to maintain advocacy by promoting change from within the organization. Owning at least one share of a company’s stock allows any one person, company, or institution to be referred to as a shareholder, or stockholder.
In publicly traded companies, shareholders maintain a certain degree of ownership to the company. If the company does well, the shareholder benefits from increased stock valuation, and if the company does poorly, the stock then loses value, and the shareholders, in turn, lose money.
There can be many additional benefits, depending on the corporation, that shareholders can participate in. Since you likely started impact investing, or investing your money according to your values because you wanted a say in how your money was being used, you likely care even more so about the decisions companies are making on a day-to-day or year-to-year continual basis.
This raises the question: as a shareholder of a company, how can you advocate for your values?
- Let start with the obvious off the bat. Invest. By investing in companies that you feel strongly about from either a revenue or purpose standpoint, you’re taking a risk that the company will succeed. The more you invest, the more the company will be able to continue its mission as a business, and in their socially responsible practices.
- Vote. As a shareholder, you have the opportunity to vote on matters important to the organization. For instance, if you value equality & diversity in corporate governance, place your vote when the company chooses its board of directors annually. Or, if the company is considering a merger in the future, do your research on the potential merging company’s environmental or human rights & diversity records.
- Attend the company’s quarterly or annual meetings. This is the single best way to learn about a company’s performance and business growth plans. Unable to attend a meeting in person or via conference call? Review the company’s quarterly or annual report, which should be available to all shareholders. Let this guide your investment decisions. Consider sharing concerns or research with appropriate personnel if your research warrants.
Your investments are a reflection of your values. Advocate for your values with the companies you have trusted with your investments. New to impact investing? We offer many different socially responsible portfolios and offer custom screens including Shareholder Advocacy, Community Impact Investments, Employee Relations, Environment, Product Safety, Corporate Governance, Military Contracting, Alcohol, Nuclear Power, Tobacco, Gambling, Animal Testing, and Repressive Regimes.