Business Wire

Climate Change Tops the Agenda for Institutional Investors in 2021


When institutional investors with USD 29 trillion in assets under management were asked what issue was most likely to prompt them to engage with company boards, climate change topped the agenda.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

To view this piece of content from, please give your consent at the top of this page.

Thank you for your interest in our insight! (Graphic: Business Wire)

This is among the key findings of the 2021 Institutional Investor Survey by Morrow Sodali, released today.

The annual global poll of over 40 institutional investors aims to find out what is really important for them when analyzing companies, and to highlight their main areas of focus in determining how to exercise their voting rights at ongoing shareholder meetings.

Survey questions are designed to identify the latest trends in company engagement, including ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and sustainability, remuneration and AGM-related issues, and shareholder activism.

The 2021 iteration of the survey, which is now in its 6th year, underscores how the focus on ESG continues to intensify. The institutions surveyed see a clear link between ESG performance and good financial performance, and they want companies to improve their engagement and reporting on these topics.

While these include issues such as board composition, executive remuneration and human capital management, which are all being looked at more closely than ever before, climate change tops the agenda in terms of prompting investors to engage. The survey findings indicate that there is ample room for improvement in the quality of corporate ESG reporting, and investors in particular, want companies to discuss these topics in the context of their business plans. Companies should ensure that they have the right people engaging, in terms of both management and the board, and that these representatives are properly prepared to discuss the relevant issues.

Investors expect to see links between climate change and financial risks and opportunities identified, time horizons of the expected impact of climate change on corporate strategies explained, and metrics, targets and achievements clearly disclosed. With climate risk so clearly at the forefront of investors’ minds, it comes as no surprise that TCFD far outpaced other reporting frameworks as the first choice of 75% of respondents.

The survey highlights a strong uptick in the popularity of TCFD, and many investors now expect companies to either align with it or explain why they believe it is not necessary. SAS3 was the second choice, and it was interesting to see that a large proportion of respondents (39%) reported using in-house proprietary frameworks. This is a message to the market that investors are becoming much more sophisticated in this regard.

The survey revealed that statements of company purpose are considered to be one of the driving forces behind creating sustainable long-term value, with a strong majority (86%) of investor respondents agreeing that every company should disclose its corporate purpose, and a substantial proportion (20%) saying the issue could lead them to vote against the board chair or other directors.

ESG is now firmly established as a key factor in how investors evaluate company strategy and performance, and predictably the overwhelming majority (95%) of respondents wanted to see it incorporated into executive incentive plans. Trends from past years show that investors wanted to see a proportion of incentives tied to sustainability measures, and when drilled down in 2021, the result is a strong consensus (69%) felt that 5–25% was a reasonable amount.

Particularly noteworthy was the response on annual incentives, where the survey showcases a significant upturn in support (95%) for the inclusion of sustainability performance metrics in short-term incentive plans. By comparison, when investors were asked how important they found ESG performance metrics in short-term incentive programs in 2018, 29% said ‘not important’ and an additional 8% had no opinion. This does raise interesting questions around which ESG targets can credibly be included in annual incentives, as that clearly is not the case for all types of metrics.

For the last three years, the Morrow Sodali survey has asked investors: “What would lead you to vote against executive remuneration proposals?’’, and they have consistently indicated “misalignment of pay and performance” to be their primary concern. This year, the survey sought to examine this issue more deeply by asking what they considered the key indicators of such misalignment to be.

In response, investors identified incentive plans without performance hurdles (63%), bonuses paid by companies while severely impacted by COVID-19 (46%) and the adoption of discretionary variable pay programs (29%) as their key concerns.

Shareholder activism continues to evolve in 2021, and the survey reflected growing investor support for activist campaigns, both traditional and ESG-related. While most investors believe engaging with board members is the most effective way to influence boards, collaboration with other shareholders is rapidly becoming more acceptable. In 2021, 86% of respondents either “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that collaboration with other shareholders is an effective way to influence boards, a significant increase compared to the 2018 survey result (12%).

Aside from poor financial performance, poor strategic decisions were the factor most likely to lead an investor to support an activist. When asked what ESG factors might lead them to support an activist, 66% of respondents identified a lack of response to an ESG shareholder resolution as the most pressing issue.

Last year the survey proposed a slightly different but similar question about how investors would seek to influence boards to pay more attention to ESG issues, and this option received only 21% support. It is notable that the support for this option has increased dramatically in 2021. This clearly reflects the overarching theme of investor responses this year: the increasingly sharp focus on climate change at a global level.

To see the full results of Morrow Sodali’s Institutional Investor Survey 2021, visit here.


Morrow Sodali is a leading provider of strategic advice and shareholder services to corporate clients around the world. The firm provides corporate boards and executives with strategic advice and services relating to corporate governance, shareholder and bondholder communication and engagement, capital markets intelligence, proxy solicitation, shareholder activism and mergers and acquisitions.

From headquarters in New York and London, and offices and partners in major capital markets, Morrow Sodali serves more than 700 corporate clients in 80+ countries, including many of the world’s largest multinational corporations. In addition to listed and private companies, its clients include financial institutions, mutual funds, ETFs, stock exchanges and membership associations.

For further information about Morrow Sodali, please visit

To view this piece of content from, please give your consent at the top of this page.

Contact information

Elena Cargnello
Corporate Director of Marketing
+44 204 5136913

About Business Wire

Business Wire
Business Wire

Subscribe to releases from Business Wire

Subscribe to all the latest releases from Business Wire by registering your e-mail address below. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Latest releases from Business Wire

Teva Presents New Data at 7th European Academy of Neurology Congress Suggesting Socio-Economic Factors May Contribute to the Significant Under-Diagnosis of Migraine21.6.2021 14:01:00 CEST | Press release

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) today presented new epidemiology data on migraine from the State of Israel which indicate that socio-economic factors may contribute to underdiagnosis of migraine across society1. A retrospective study of migraine epidemiology in Southern Israel, supported by Teva and presented at the virtual 7th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), found extreme variability in the prevalence of diagnosed patients with migraine across the geographic area studied. Prevalence rates were positively associated with the socio-economic status of the geographic area studied, suggesting that those living with migraine from less advantaged areas may find it harder to achieve an accurate diagnosis and thereby access appropriate therapy. “These findings are concerning not least because they suggest significant ‘migraine awareness inequity’ in this population,” said Professor Gal Ifergane, study investigator, practitioner, head of the Depart

New Data Supporting the Safety and Efficacy Profile of AJOVY® (fremanezumab) Shared at 7th European Academy of Neurology Congress21.6.2021 14:01:00 CEST | Press release

A new analysis presented by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) on AJOVY® (fremanezumab) injection for the preventive treatment of migraine, indicates to the European neurology community that the medicine has a positive safety profile in relation to risk of cardiovascular events. The data, drawn from an analysis of three published Phase 3 studies of fremanezumab and presented at the 7th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), showed minimal changes in the heart rate and blood pressure of those patients studied over a 12 week period. 1 “As a CGRP inhibitor, fremanezumab has been shown to provide protection against migraine in suitable patients, and we remain focused on continued assessment of the safety profile of this therapy, particularly in relation to heart-related issues as it is believed CGRP itself acts as a ‘safeguard’ during cardiovascular ischemia and other events,” said Dr Joshua M. Cohen, Senior Director and Global Therapeutic Area Lead, Mi

Ezbob Introduces New SaaS Platform to Meet the Changing Landscape of Digital Banking21.6.2021 11:00:00 CEST | Press release

Ezbob Ltd., an innovator in customer acquisition technology for financial services, today announced the introduction of a new modular SaaS platform that addresses key trends in the sector. The company’s Ezbob Express™, focuses on three important needs: offering financial service providers the flexibility of filling gaps in their digital transformation strategies, enabling them to make more precise complex credit and risk decisions in real-time, and facilitating the growth of embedded finance. Ezbob’s new Express customer acquisition platform has a modular approach, enabling financial institutions with gaps in their digital channel to add the functionality needed to achieve a customised digital experience. The new modules include: UX & Process Design, Compliance & Authentication, Credit & Risk Decisioning and Product Recommender. Since its inception Ezbob has been providing digital onboarding services for many well-known financial institutions including Santander, NatWest, Metro Bank, P

Ambarella Expands Security AI Vision SoC Portfolio With Two New Families; Doubles Resolution to 32MP30 for 4K Multi-Imager Cameras With Advanced AI21.6.2021 11:00:00 CEST | Press release

Ambarella, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA), an AI vision silicon company, today announced the expansion of its AI vision SoC portfolio with the new CV5S and CV52S security families. Based on the CVflow® architecture and advanced 5nm process technology, the new SoCs support simultaneous 4K encoding and advanced AI processing in a single low-power design, which provides industry-leading edge AI SoC performance per watt. The CV5S family is ideal for security camera applications that require multiple sensors for 360-degree coverage, over a wide area and with a long range, such as outdoor city environments or large buildings. The CV52S family is designed for single-sensor security cameras with advanced AI performance that need to more clearly identify individuals or objects in a scene, including faces and license plate numbers over long distances, such as ITS traffic cameras. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: Am

Jardiance ® (empagliflozin) approved in Europe for the treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction21.6.2021 10:36:00 CEST | Press release

The European Commission has granted marketing authorization for Jardiance® (empagliflozin) as a treatment for adults with symptomatic chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (systolic heart failure), Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company have announced.The extension of the indication follows a positive recommendation by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) on 20 May 2021.2 This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: “Today’s approval provides an important new treatment option which can now help the millions of people in Europe living with symptomatic chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction,” said Faiez Zannad, M.D., Ph.D., EMPEROR Program clinical investigator and Emeritus Professor of Therapeutics at the University of Lorraine, France. “New treatment options such as empagliflozin can save lives and help people spend less time in the hospital and mor

SK Capital Reaches Agreement to Sell Niacet for $1,015m21.6.2021 10:00:00 CEST | Press release

An affiliate of funds advised by SK Capital Partners, LP (“SK Capital”) announced today that it reached agreement to sell Niacet Corp. (“Niacet”) to Kerry Group plc, the global taste and nutrition company, for $1,015m (€853m¹) on a cash-free, debt-free basis, subject to customary closing adjustments. Following the acquisition, Niacet will be integrated into Kerry’s global food protection and preservation platform. Jack Norris, Managing Director at SK Capital, said, “SK Capital is privileged to have partnered with Kelly Brannen and the entire Niacet team. We are proud and appreciative of Niacet’s accomplishments over the last four years leveraging the strong foundation the Brannen family built over many decades. We believe Niacet is well-positioned to continue this growth and flourish under Kerry’s ownership. We wish Kerry and all the employees of Niacet every success.” Kelly Brannen, CEO and significant minority owner of Niacet, commented, “We are proud of the rich heritage we have bui

ISAE-SUPAERO's "Collaborative Rover and Drone" Project, Facilitating the Exploration of the Moon21.6.2021 09:54:00 CEST | Press release

While Thomas Pesquet launched on April 22 as part of the Alpha mission, one of humanity's biggest challenges remains even further away than the ISS, 400,000 km from Earth: the establishment of a lunar base. But before being able to settle on the Moon in a prolonged way to exploit its resources or as a logistic support for future exploration missions further away, an exploration work is necessary. The use of autonomous robotic systems would allow mapping of dangerous or hard-to-reach areas from space, before eventually deploying infrastructure such as a spaceport or human habitation. Faced with this exploration challenge, the Space Advanced Concepts Laboratory (SaCLaB) of ISAE-SUPAERO in Toulouse and a team of students from the Institute are developing the Collaborative Rover and Drone (CoRoDro) project to study navigation and autonomous operations for space robotic systems. This scientific study is one of 12 university technology projects selected in 8 different countries as part of th

In our pressroom you can read all our latest releases, find our press contacts, images, documents and other relevant information about us.

Visit our pressroom