CalPERS Highlights 2017 Proxy Season Accomplishments
August 16, 2017
Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Brad W. Pacheco, Deputy Executive Officer
Wayne Davis, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Megan White, Information Officer
SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Public Employees' Retirement System continued advancing corporate governance reforms on behalf of shareowners during the 2017 proxy season, including passing important resolutions on proxy access and climate risk reporting.
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 Governance & Sustainability Principles (PDF), Pension Beliefs, and the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) 5-Year Strategic Plan (PDF).
"We saw progress with victories in climate risk reporting and proxy access, which are main themes in our ESG Strategic Plan," said Ted Eliopolous, CalPERS chief investment officer. "The first step is to win the vote. Now, we will be engaging with these companies to ensure that they follow through with their responsibilities to their shareholders."
Climate risk reporting proposals at Occidental Petroleum, PPL and ExxonMobil passed, while the proposal at Chevron was withdrawn after reforms were substantially implemented. The win at Occidental Petroleum was the first of its kind in the United States. Prior to this win, a climate risk reporting proposal had not received the majority of votes at a U.S. oil company.
CalPERS also ran proxy solicitations at another 13 companies. The average level of shareowner support for shareholder proposals that went to vote in 2017 was 45 percent, up from 34 percent in 2016.
In addition to CalPERS-led proposals, 17 proxy solicitation campaigns were run in connection with the New York City Comptroller's Board Accountability Project regarding proxy access. In total, 14 proposals passed with more than 50 percent shareowner support.
Proxy access helps to ensure that corporate boards are independent, competent, diverse, and accountable to shareowners. CalPERS' proxy access proposal at Old Republic International Corporation passed overwhelmingly with 74 percent shareowner support.
"We believe engagement is an important part of being a responsible shareowner," said Anne Simpson, CalPERS investment director, sustainability. "Our intent is to create long-term sustainable value that will benefit the companies and our members."
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 1.4 million members and their families in our health program. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $330 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.