The Shareholder Association for Research and Education is setting out new guidance for institutional investors on corporate votes regarding sustainability reporting.

In its model proxy voting guidelines, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education provides Canadian institutional investors with a set of generic proxy voting rules designed to be easily tailored for individual organizations.

“[The organization adopting the model proxy voting standards] will vote for proposals that ask companies to report to shareholders using the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board standards or the task force on climate-related financial disclosures framework.”

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Developed by the Dutch non-governmental organization of the same name, the GRI guidelines are designed to enable organizations of any size to provide clear information on the impact of investments on the economy, environment and people in a comparable and credible way. The standards are made available for free by the GRI.

The 2020 SASB reporting guidelines, which were created by British non-profit the Value Reporting Foundation, are designed to communicate how sustainability issues impact long-term enterprise value. Unlike the other standards approved by the proxy voting guidelines, the SASB only focuses on environmental, social and governance issues expected to have a financially material impact.

The G20’s TFCRFD framework, which was released in 2017, is structured around four thematic areas: governance, strategy, risk management and targets. According to Michael Bloomberg, who leads the task force, the widespread adoption of the framework would ensure the effects of climate change are considered in all routine business and investment decisions.

Read: Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero grows to $US130 trillion in global commitments

While the number of organizations that draw from the SHARE’s proxy voting guidelines is unknown, numerous Canadian institutional investors, including defined benefit pension plans, Indigenous trusts, universities and religious institutions representing more than $80 billion in managed assets, acknowledge using the model guidelines. Beyond sustainability reporting, the latest version of the guidelines includes new recommendations on proxy voting related to diversity and board composition.