Continuing a multi-year trend, ESG matters in 2019 have become a focal point for traditional and non-traditional activists alike. ESG-driven demands by traditional activists have continued to grow in 2019. In the first half of 2019, new activist campaigns in the United States have included 57 ESG-driven demands, well on pace to surpass the record 78 demands made in 2017.
Ongoing engagement with shareholders and anticipating and understanding potential areas that are of interest to activists remain key strategies that every public company board should be considering. As always, when engaging directly with shareholder activists, directors and senior management should stay focused to ensure that their response is in the best interest of all shareholders.