The world’s largest asset managers voted against environmental, social and governance (ESG) proposals by shareholders more often in 2022 than in the previous year, according to analysis.
The investigation by ShareAction probed how 68 of the world’s largest asset managers voted on 252 ESG-related shareholder resolutions last year. It claims that major asset managers are failing to press companies to take stronger action on climate, pollution and human rights.
Vanguard Group, Fidelity Investments, BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors – the four largest asset managers – considerably reduced their support for shareholder proposals in 2022. Vanguard only backed 10% of proposals, compared with 26% the year before, while BlackRock’s support decreased from 40% to 24%. Fidelity backed 17% of resolutions, compared with 29% the previous year, and State Street’s support fell from 32% to 28%.
Refusal of support from BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street torpedoed 49 resolutions, according to the research. This represents 19% of all resolutions, up from 12% the previous year.
ShareAction found that European asset managers backed an average of 81% of proposals in 2022, compared with 69% in 2021. It says the rise is down to the EU’s introduction of the Shareholder Rights Directive, which requires larger asset managers to report on their shareholder engagement, investment strategies and voting behaviour.