Below are key takeaways from ISS’ recently released 2020 France Proxy Season Review. The full report is available to institutional subscribers by logging into ISS Link then selecting the Governance Exchange and its Report Center tab and to corporate subscribers by logging into Governance Analytics then selecting the Governance Exchange and the Report Center tab.
- Impact of COVID-19: Like in many other jurisdictions, the global pandemic caused many French companies to hold their annual shareholder meetings later in the year. Additionally, a majority of CAC 40 companies reduced or withdrew their initial dividend distribution proposals.
- SRD2 implementation: This was the first year for binding proposals on full remuneration reports including all corporate officer remuneration. Remuneration reports also required new disclosure regarding pay equity ratios.
- Incorporation of corporate missions: New regulatory code requires French companies to be managed in the social interest by the review of their social and environmental impacts. Some companies also requested shareholders approve bylaw amendments to codify this new corporate mission.
- First environmental related shareholder proposals: In 2020, the first ever environmental-related shareholder resolutions were received by two French companies. Although the resolutions were dismissed by the company at Vinci SA, shareholders of Total SE voted on a climate-related bylaw amendment. The resolution received 17% support.
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