According to a company news release, the new guidelines are the first Calvert has issued since the US Securities and Exchange Commission adopted new rules requiring all mutual funds to disclose their proxy voting practices and policies, as well as their actual proxy votes.
Calvert’s guidelines, are designed to promote three attributes of well-governed, socially responsible companies, according to the announcement. The guidelines support:
- governance structures and policies that keep the focus of company management on long-term corporate health and sustainable financial, social and environmental performance.
- governance structures that create and reinforce accountability, including independent and diverse boards; full disclosure of company performance on financial, environmental and social metrics; shareowner participation and empowerment; and compensation structures that align management and shareowner interests.
- sustainable governance that attends fairly to the long-term interests of shareowners and other stakeholders, including workers, customers, communities and the environment.
The Guidelines contain detailed proxy-voting policies on:
- board elections
- composition and governance
- executive compensation and stock ownership
- mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers
- workplace, environment, and human rights issues
- product safety and impact
- indigenous peoples’ rights; and community interactions.
The guidelines are part of a larger good governance initiative the firm has undertaken to promote healthier companies, stronger markets and improved opportunities for investors. This includes fully integrating governance guidelines into Calvert’s investment analysis, encouraging open and honest reporting by companies, advocating for greater board diversity and promoting high standards of corporate ethics and other “sustainable governance” practices that align the long-term interests of management, shareholders and other stakeholders.
The guidelines are available at www.calvert.com/pdf/proxy_voting_guidelines_new.pdf .
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