“The Fastest-Growing Cause for Shareholders is Sustainability” – Harvard Business Review – July 18, 2016

On July 18, 2016 Professor George Serafeim, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, contributed an article to Harvard Business Review presenting research he and colleagues have conducted about 2,665 shareholder proposals submitted to US corporations between 1997 and 2012.  The research is presented in the paper, “Shareholder Activism on Sustainability Issues,” published on July 6, 2016.

In the article, Professor Serafim explains that the number of shareholder resolutions covering environmental and social issues has “increased dramatically over the past five years.”

The article’s conclusion explains that increasing investor/shareholder concern about environmental and social issues can impact a company’s triple bottom line – planet, people and profit:

“Much of the discussion around investor activism has concentrated on how such activism might increase the short-term orientation of corporate America, but it is important to realize that investor activism takes many different forms. A substantial amount of investor activism appears to be motivated by social or environmental aims. Investors can be a driver for social responsibility and, at least when focused on material issues, can improve both societal and financial outcomes at the same time.”

Registered users may read the article on the Harvard Business Re view internet site.