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Executive Pay Watch: ESG Looms Larger In Annual Meetings

Editorial Staff

6 September 2021

Shareholders are raising more questions about climate change and director pay at annual general meetings this year than was the case in earlier years, according to ESG Clarity, a newsletter tracking such issues. It cited research by Equiniti and Prism Cosec.

Investors use “virtual AGMs” to ask about financial strategy, governance, climate change, diversity and accessibility. 

The report also noted that a study by Lumi, The 2021 AGM season; Insight and key trends, showed that engagement by shareholders has trebled over the past year - the average number of questions asked at any given meeting has risen from six questions to a new high of 17 questions.

Climate change was among the top topics of the agenda with companies receiving more questions about their activities. The Equiniti and Prism Cosec report stated: “Companies need to consider their impact on the climate and make adjustments in order to avoid adverse publicity at AGMs.”

The Lumi research also noted that this AGM season saw investors asking more questions related to social impact and governance issues, with 31 per cent opposing votes on director pay and remuneration across 43 listed companies in the UK, the report said.