Friends Fiduciary’s Executive Director Jeff Perkins announced today that leading independent proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis, which advise institutional investors on how to vote at companies’ shareholder meetings, has each recommended that shareholders support Item 5 at the Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC) annual shareholders meeting on May 13, 2021.
FFC submitted the Item 5 shareholder proposal asking NSC’s Board of Directors to conduct an evaluation and issue a report describing if, and how, the company’s lobbying activities (through its trade and other associations) align with the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting average global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and how NSC plans to mitigate risks presented by any misalignment.
In its April 29th report recommending FOR Item 5, ISS concluded:
In its April 21st report recommending FOR FFC’s climate lobbying proposal, Glass Lewis cited its view that the requested reporting would:
Friends Fiduciary encourages other shareholders to join in voting FOR Item 5, because both the risks and opportunities presented by climate change are highly relevant to Norfolk Southern’s business. Further, trade and other associations to which NSC belongs have been among the leading opponents of Paris-aligned climate policy. NSC currently makes no disclosure about its direct or indirect climate-related lobbying, which prevents shareholders from discerning whether its lobbying is aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal and how the company is managing risks related to misalignment. In opposing FFC’s proposal, NSC’s Board of Directors makes arguments that are vague and focus on information irrelevant to the proposal.
The recommendations from these proxy advisory firms follow FFC’s April 1st letter to NSC shareholders. At Friends Fiduciary we will continue our leadership on these important stewardship issues.