one in four shareholders reject greenwashing
Some green initiatives didn’t pass the pub test, with almost one in four Aussies voting against Say on Climate resolutions. Image: Canva.
  • Attendance has risen since the last AGM season
  • During 2022, female directors accounted for 35.7% of ASX200 director positions
  • Women still only account for 10% of all ASX200 and ASX300 chair positions

Australia’s AGM season was marked by a rise in attendance, a fall in strikes, and climate commotion, according to the latest from Georgeson’s and Computershare’s AGM Intelligence Reports.

Technology allowed more shareholders to make meetings manageable, with the 2022 AGM season also seeing fewer to no Covid restrictions hampering in-person meetings.

Robust shareholder engagement was seen as a likely factor behind the reduced remuneration strikes inflicted on companies.

Climate kerfuffle

Data shows that ‘Say on Climate’ resolutions at ASX300 companies saw, on average, a nearly 25% shareholder opposition, double the average global opposition of 9.6%.

Across Australia’s top 300 listed companies, the report found only eight companies included climate plan-related resolutions, all of which passed with support ranging between 51% to 94.5%. Shareholders put forth six proposals, all being withdrawn either in favour of company resolutions or the enabling constitutional amendment resolution failed.

Andrew Thain, Country Head and Managing Director of Australia at Georgeson, said:

“… the continued high levels of opposition to Say on Climate resolutions suggests investors are seeking more meaningful ESG-related disclosures, particularly around climate change.

“Shareholders continue to use their votes to express their dissatisfaction and expect companies to step up their ESG practices and reporting.”

Fewer strikes, and the top jobs still elude women

The report found that remuneration across ASX300 companies received increased shareholder support, with 22% fewer companies receiving ‘strikes (over 25% of votes against). Only 21 companies received a strike this season compared to the 27 in 2021, with a further 11 companies narrowly avoiding a strike.

Thain said: “The increased remuneration support indicates companies continue to engage in robust stakeholder discussions throughout the year, helping their investors better understand the metrics and reasoning behind their compensation plans.”

Georgeson said that, during 2022, female directors accounted for 35.7% of ASX200 director positions: up from 34.9% the previous year. Nearly 45% of new director appointments to ASX200 boards were women.

However, women still only account for 10% of all ASX200 and ASX300 chair positions, with four ASX200 companies still with zero female directors.

Online meetings boost AGM attendance

Computershare’s report found that the 17% increase in AGM attendance in 2022 was online, with two-thirds (67.4%) of total 2022 client AGM attendees joining a fully virtual or hybrid meeting.

While online meetings gained traction, the desire to be back in person was strong. Data showed a larger proportion of Computershare’s clients chose to resume in‑person AGMs last year (60.7% compared to 38.1% in 2021).

A significantly larger proportion of meetings took place as hybrids in 2022 than the previous year: 23.3% compared to 5.8% due to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Computershare’s Head of Issuer Services Australia and New Zealand, Marnie Reid, said: “The figures from last year’s AGM season underscores how companies are continuing to use technology to provide engagement options for shareholders.

“After two years of Covid-19 restrictions governing in-person meetings, there was a clear desire among many of our clients to enable shareholders to gather physically.

“However, the figures also reveal that firms were able to engage many more shareholders through electronic means last year, suggesting that hybrid meetings and the use of online AGM platforms are likely here to stay.”



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