podcasts Corporate /en/research-insights/podcasts/sec-s-peirce-worries-esg-movement-could-hinder-corporate-performance content
Log in to other products

Login to Market Intelligence Platform


Looking for more?

Request a Demo

You're one step closer to unlocking our suite of comprehensive and robust tools.

Fill out the form so we can connect you to the right person.

If your company has a current subscription with S&P Global Market Intelligence, you can register as a new user for access to the platform(s) covered by your license at Market Intelligence platform or S&P Capital IQ.

  • First Name*
  • Last Name*
  • Business Email *
  • Phone *
  • Company Name *
  • City *
  • We generated a verification code for you

  • Enter verification Code here*

* Required

Thank you for your interest in S&P Global Market Intelligence! We noticed you've identified yourself as a student. Through existing partnerships with academic institutions around the globe, it's likely you already have access to our resources. Please contact your professors, library, or administrative staff to receive your student login.

At this time we are unable to offer free trials or product demonstrations directly to students. If you discover that our solutions are not available to you, we encourage you to advocate at your university for a best-in-class learning experience that will help you long after you've completed your degree. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

In This List

SEC's Peirce worries ESG movement could hinder corporate performance

S&P Global

Daily Update: October 27, 2020

S&P Global

Daily Update: October 26, 2020


The Essential Podcast, Episode 24: Beyond the Bin — Climate Solutions in the Circular Economy

S&P Global Platts

California’s new clean car goal faces roadblocks, starting with election: Fuel for Thought

Listen: SEC's Peirce worries ESG movement could hinder corporate performance

The environmental, social and governance movement could weaken the performance of companies that have already done a lot of good for society, Commissioner Hester Peirce of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in an exclusive interview for the latest episode of ESG Insider, an S&P Global podcast.

Peirce said she worries some managers use companies as their "personal piggy bank" in the name of fulfilling social objectives and she worries that trend could grow as millennials move up the corporate ranks. "I have nothing against millennials and I think it's great they're passionate about a lot of causes," Peirce said. "But I think we shouldn't throw the valuable corporate form out the door at the same time that we're realizing that there are a lot of things that are important in life."

The SEC is considering changing the rules underlying the proxy process in which companies hold annual meetings with investors each spring. At those meetings, investors vote on key governance issues and sometimes on resolutions that shareholders have submitted.

"We want to get the calibration right so that some shareholders are not subsidizing the pet issues of a few smaller shareholders," Peirce said.

The agency has indicated that it could propose rules on the process as early as spring 2020, including potentially related to the thresholds for submitting and resubmitting resolutions and regarding influential proxy advisory firms that many asset managers use to track and vote on resolutions. But shareholder rights advocates worry raising the threshold could hinder their ability to get emerging issues on the radar of company boards and management.

Sanford Lewis, a lawyer and director of the Shareholder Rights Group, in the podcast contends the current resubmission thresholds are working fine and points to examples of how shareholders rejected fringe issues in annual meetings this year.

In the interview, Peirce also noted that she is mulling options for pulling the SEC entirely out of the process of answering companies' requests to block certain shareholder resolutions that the companies argue are not permissible under the agency's proxy rules. We talked with Tim Smith, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement at Walden Asset Management, about the potential that the SEC will stop weighing in on resolutions, and whether companies and investors are clamoring for that change.

The podcast also dives into how climate-related resolutions played out this year at key energy companies including at BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.

To receive our weekly ESG Insider newsletter: