Shareholder proposals successfully push for disclosure of corporate political activity

By March 28, 2017Press Release

Toronto, ON, March 28, 2017 – Shareholders have an interest in knowing how their companies invest in influencing public policy. In order to address the lack of disclosure on corporate political spending, the Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE) filed shareholder proposals this year at three Canadian companies and one US company on behalf of its institutional investor clients.

All three Canadian companies (Canadian National Railway Co., Goldcorp Inc., and Cenovus Energy Inc.) have now agreed to provide additional disclosure to investors about how they oversee and engage in political activity including direct lobbying, campaign contributions, and indirect lobbying through trade associations.

In addition, Cenovus Energy announced last week that it has adopted a new policy to no longer make campaign contributions. Corporations are allowed to make financial contributions to political parties in certain Canadian jurisdictions such as British Columbia and Saskatchewan, where between 2012 and 2015 Cenovus contributed $85,000 to the BC Liberal Party and $55,000 to the Saskatchewan Party respectively.

SHARE is continuing private discussions on behalf of its client shareholders with other Canadian companies to improve political spending disclosure across the Canadian market. It has also helped a client file a shareholder proposal at Caterpillar Inc., which holds its annual meeting in June. Last year it filed three successful shareholder resolutions on behalf of clients (at Enbridge Inc., TransCanada Corporation, and Bank of America Corp.) resulting in agreements to improve oversight and disclosure at all three firms.

“First and foremost, the public has a right to know who’s actively influencing lawmakers and on what issues,” says Kevin Thomas, Director of Shareholder Engagement at SHARE. “But shareholders have an additional interest in knowing how their company’s management is using resources and whether those activities create unnecessary risk for their investment portfolio. These companies have agreed that strong oversight and transparency are an important part of good corporate governance, and have taken the lead in providing both for their shareholders.”

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Notes for Editors

Interviews available with Kevin Thomas, Director of Shareholder Engagement.
Contact: Norah Murphy, 604.695.2026 or [email protected]

About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)

SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors. Since its creation as a non-profit organization in 2000, SHARE has provided proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada.

www.share.ca / @share_ca

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For more information please contact: 

Norah Murphy, Communications Coordinator, SHARE
Telephone: (604) 695-2026
[email protected]