ROCKVILLE, Md. (Oct. 1, 2021) – Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), a leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions to financial market participants, today released the results of its annual global benchmark policy survey in tandem with those from a separate, new climate survey. In total, ISS received 409 responses to this year’s benchmark policy survey and 329 response to the climate survey. There were 159 and 164 responses to the benchmark policy and climate surveys respectively from investors or investor-affiliated organizations, 246 and 152 responses respectively from companies and corporate-affiliated organizations, with the remainder from academic and non-profit responders.
The benchmark policy survey questions covered a variety of emerging and other topics with global application including on the use of non-financial ESG performance metrics in executive compensation, racial equity audits, and the continued use of virtual-only shareholder meetings. By region and market, questions also covered potential issues of import for voting at companies across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Brazil.
The separate climate survey questions elicited feedback relevant to both ISS’ benchmark and specialty climate policy development in order to determine views on minimum criteria for boards in overseeing climate-related risks, plus market sentiment on shareholders having the right to regularly vote on a company’s climate transition plans. It also elicited feedback specifically relevant to ISS’ specialty climate voting policy, launched last year, which incorporates market disclosures with ISS’ unique and proprietary climate data, research, and issue expertise in analyzing votable items.
The surveys are part of ISS’ annual policy development process. During October, ISS will release key draft policy updates and open a public comment period for all interested market participants on key proposed changes to its voting policies for next year. The open comment period in October is designed to elicit objective, specific feedback from investors, companies, and other market constituents on the practical implementation of proposed policy updates. The new policy updates will be announced in November and the process will complete in December with the publication of the final policies applicable to shareholder meetings occurring on or after Feb. 1 of 2022, and a webinar presentation.
Founded in 1985, Institutional Shareholder Services group of companies (ISS) empowers investors and companies to build for long-term and sustainable growth by providing high-quality data, analytics and insight. ISS, which is majority owned by Deutsche Börse Group, along with Genstar Capital and ISS management, is a leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions, market intelligence, fund services, and events and editorial content for institutional investors and corporations, globally. ISS operates on an arm’s-length basis and Deutsche Börse has adopted Principles protecting the independence and integrity of ISS’ research offerings. ISS’ 2,000 employees operate worldwide across more than 30 global offices in 15 countries. Its more than 4,000 clients include many of the world’s leading institutional investors who rely on ISS’ objective and impartial ESG and governance research, market intelligence and fund services and data and analytics, as well as public companies focused on ESG and governance risk mitigation as a shareholder value enhancing measure. Clients rely on ISS’ expertise to help them make informed investment decisions.
Sarah Ball, Executive Director