Shifting the Balance of Power: The Case for Shareholder Activism

19th Jun 2014; 13:00

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Once a year, companies are publicly accountable to their shareholders at their Annual General Meetings. AGMs are a unique opportunity for people to directly question the executives of major listed companies about profits and strategy but also about sustainability, supply chains, human rights and tax practices. In fact, anyone can buy a share, go to a company AGM and ask a question of the board, bypassing the maze of customer service and PR departments to speak directly to the people with ultimate responsibility.

And boards listen! Thanks to questions at AGMs over the last few years, companies have begun to act: paying Living Wages, pulling out of controversial trade associations, and improving their transparency on tax and sustainability policies.

An expert panel will discuss how individuals and organisations can be supported to act as stewards of large companies, raising social and environmental concerns that deserve a hearing in the corridors of corporate power.

Speakers: Catherine Howarth, CEO, ShareAction; Councillor Andy Hull, executive Member for Finance and Performance, Islington Council and Vice Chair of the Islington Pension Fund; David Pitt-Watson, executive Fellow, London Business School; and James Perry, Chairman, COOK.

Chair: Oliver Reichardt, director of Fellowship, RSA

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