Schroders supports workers' rights and digital rights at upcoming AGMs

Schroders today announces it is supporting workers’ and digital rights at the upcoming Annual General Meetings of Alphabet, Amazon and Meta.

The pre-declaration of Schroders voting intentions follows prior engagement activity with the companies on these specific themes and this escalation is the next step of our active ownership process.

In total, Schroders is today unveiling its voting intentions for 11 resolutions at the three companies next week. This follows the publication of Schroders Engagement Blueprint which has set new standards on active ownership and targets on engagement.

Schroders’ engagement with Amazon is focused on supporting workers’ rights, one of six priority themes in the Blueprint. Specific engagement areas encompass improving the wages paid to staff and the benefits that they are offered; worker engagement and representation within Amazon; the health and wellbeing of workers and the working conditions within Amazon’s warehouses.

In terms of Meta and Alphabet, Schroders will vote in favour of improving their approach to digital rights – including exploitative content, misinformation and privacy.

Kimberley Lewis, Head of Active Ownership, Schroders, commented:

“At Schroders we approach active ownership differently. We believe it is important to set clear expectations for companies around sustainable business practices and, as a result, we are able to influence corporate behaviour through constructive and committed engagement with the companies and assets we invest in.

“We have selected proposals which are aligned with our Blueprint and where we have an engagement history. Some 11 of these proposals have already been highlighted as ‘ones to watch’ by key external advocacy pressure groups and we will not hesitate in publishing our voting intentions for more resolutions if we believe it is the right thing to do.”  

Kate Rogers, Head of Sustainability, Schroders Wealth Management, commented:

“These issues are growing in importance for our clients who are pressing us to do more to ensure the companies that we invest in are acting responsibly. By voting against the management at Alphabet and Meta we are signalling the importance of big technology companies acting to avoid harm and tackling misinformation on their platforms. At Amazon, we stand with the workers, seeking more disclosure on working conditions and their treatment.

“As active managers the way we use our influence can make a significant difference helping companies to transition to a more sustainable business model and accelerating positive change. This is important for financial returns as companies and countries’ impacts on the planet are increasingly hitting their bottom lines. At Schroders we strongly believe that companies can’t exploit these issues – both workers and digital rights - without recourse through financial cost or reputational risk.”

In February this year, FTSE 350 non-executive directors also attended Schroders’ inaugural Director Dialogue event to discuss some of the most complex sustainability challenges facing business.

Please see below a list of the shareholder proposals for which Schroders is pre-declaring its intention to vote for at Alphabet, Amazon and Meta. Please note that we are still considering other agenda items at these meetings - we are likely to be voting against the boards’ recommendations for other proposals in addition to these shareholder proposals:

2022 Amazon AGM (Workers Rights)

ITEM 9—Shareholder proposal requesting a report on worker health and safety differences

ITEM 13—Shareholder proposal requesting additional reporting on freedom of association

ITEM 16—Shareholder proposal requesting a report on warehouse working conditions

2022 Meta AGM: (Digital Rights)

ITEM 8: Report on Community Standards Enforcement

ITEM 9: Report on User Risk and Advisory Vote on Metaverse Project

ITEM 10: Publish Third Party Human Rights Impact Assessment

ITEM 11: Report on Child Sexual Exploitation Online

ITEM 14: Commission Assessment of Audit and Risk Oversight Committee

2022 Alphabet AGM: (Digital Rights)

ITEM 14: Report on Managing Risks Related to Data Collection, Privacy and Security

ITEM 15: Disclose More Quantitative and Qualitative Information on Algorithmic Systems

ITEM 16: Commission Third Party Assessment of Company's Management of Misinformation and Disinformation Across Platforms