ESG, Impact, Socially Responsible Concerns, & Corporate Accountability
BI&R’s ESG-Impact Solution
BI&R offers values-based proxy voting services to enhance corporate accountability and social responsibility, incorporating ESG, impact, and socially responsible investing concerns. By directing BI&R to vote proxies as their “proxy advisor,” clients can retain their investment manager of choice while promoting progress and impact in areas of social concerns. By helping a client align their values and investments, an advisor can deepen relationships while lengthening the client's time horizon.
BI&R provides clients with values-based proxy voting services, serving as their “proxy advisor” at a nominal fee that the advisor can often absorb within the advisor's existing fee schedule.
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In our experience, investment restrictions can negatively impact performance and risk due to missed opportunities and increased industry concentrations. That is why BI&R believes the optimal path for aligning values and investments is not avoidance (through investment restrictions), but engagement (through ownership and active proxy voting and advocacy). By focusing on proxy engagement, investment decisions can be separate from, but not isolated from, a client’s social concerns. Meanwhile, engagement through active proxy voting improves corporate social responsibility, governance, and disclosures.
PROXY VOTING PROCESS
Shareholders submit about 400-500 proxy proposals each year, covering a wide range of matters of interest to socially concerned investors. When a client provides no direction, their investment manager generally abstains or votes with management. By directing BI&R to vote proxies, clients can retain their investment manager of choice, while assisting in advocacy for progress in areas of social concern.
BI&R ESG THEMES AND PRIORITIES
BI&R can accommodate specific client voting concerns and guidelines but offers four themes that address common ESG priorities.
Client proxy voting will support shareholder proposals advocating for environmental stewardship, conservation, and sustainability, including climate-change concerns such as emissions, greenhouse gases, and carbon; use of solar and safety of nuclear energy; pollution controls; protections against antibiotics, pesticides, deforestation and harm to biodiversity; and end-to-end supply chain materials management.
Client proxy voting will support shareholder proposals advocating for the protection of human life, promoting human dignity, reducing production and distribution of arms and weapons, pursuing economic justice, protecting the environment, and encouraging corporate responsibility.
LABOR / HUMAN RIGHTS
Client proxy voting will support positive labor practices, including fair-pay, pay equity, equal access, diversity, and non-discriminatory workplaces, regardless of gender or religion. Voting will also support shareholder proposals advocating community protections, such as those related to abuses of personal privacy or censorship; food integrity; drug pricing, and prescriptions; harm to indigenous peoples or at-risk communities; penal system exploitation; and supply chain risks from child or forced labor, slavery, trafficking, or conflict zones.
Client proxy voting will support shareholder proposals advocating for the preservation of traditional family values, protecting the environment, and building healthy communities through corporate responsibility.
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