With rising pressure on companies and their boards to describe and justify their governance practices coming from institutional investors, who are increasingly guided by broad corporate stewardship goals, companies have been looking for ways to enhance shareholder engagement. Companies have intensified their engagement practices and are increasingly holding meetings directly with the governance experts within major institutional investors. These “governance roadshows” are focused solely on describing (and seeking support for) governance policies and practices. The use of the company’s proxy statement and its corporate website has continued to emerge as an important tool to supplement these engagement efforts as it provides a direct, efficient and effective way to communicate a company’s overall governance philosophy as well as its approach to specific governance issues.
Company proxy statements and the corporate governance sections of company websites have always been the primary source for a view of a company’s governance structures, policies and practices, but many companies only disclosed information in order to meet SEC and other disclosure requirements. Many leading companies are no longer limiting their proxy statement and website to mandatory disclosures, but are using both as a vehicle for advocacy by making their governance case and laying the foundation for higher-level discussions during the shareholder engagement process.
In this insight, we explore the practices and trends of the Top 100 Companies in this area.