CalPERS 2016 Proxy Season Results in Significant Accomplishments
August 15, 2016
Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Brad W. Pacheco, Deputy Executive Officer
Wayne Davis, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Joe DeAnda, Information Officer
Progress made on proxy access, climate risk reporting, and board diversity
SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) made significant progress towards corporate governance reforms in the area of proxy access, climate risk reporting, and corporate board diversity during the 2016 proxy season through various shareowner campaigns. CalPERS invests in more than 10,000 public companies worldwide, and uses its proxy voting rights at those companies to effect changes in line with its Global Governance Principles (PDF) and Investment Beliefs.
CalPERS' proxy access proposal at Old Republic International Corporation passed overwhelmingly with 74 percent shareowner support. Proxy access helps to ensure that corporate boards are independent, competent, diverse, and accountable to shareowners.
The System also co-filed climate risk reporting proposals at Anglo American, Glencore Plc, and Rio Tinto Plc. All three proposals received support from the company's management and passed with more than 95 percent shareowner support.
"We believe shareowner engagement is a critical part of good ownership," said Ted Eliopoulos, chief investment officer for CalPERS. "We are committed to consensus building with companies and other owners so policies are implemented that protect and grow our investment."
In addition to CalPERS-led proposals, 18 proxy solicitation campaigns were run in partnership with the New York City Comptroller's Office regarding proxy access. In total, 13 proposals passed with more than 50 percent shareowner support, including a landmark win at Exxon Mobil.
As a continuation of the CERES-led Carbon Asset Risk Initiative and the Paris Agreement, CalPERS also committed to publicly support climate risk proposals at 11 U.S. companies in 2016. Proposals at two of the companies, ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil, were withdrawn prior to a proxy vote because the companies agreed to implementation during engagement discussions.
Although the other nine proposals did not pass, the average level of shareowner support was 35 percent, a significant increase from 21 percent in 2015.
"This year was unprecedented for shareowners who spoke clearly on the issues that matter for long-term sustainable returns: board accountability, climate risk, and diversity," said Anne Simpson, CalPERS investment director of Global Governance. "There is more work to be done, but through our partnerships with organizations and owners such as Ceres, CCLA Investment Management, and the New York City Comptroller's Office, we are seeing real results on issues that matter for long-term owners."
For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.8 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $306 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.