ESG Alert

Shareholder Activism or Divestment? The Massachusetts Pension Fund Chooses Activism

February 18, 2022

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board approved investment guidelines that would have the Board vote against directors of companies in which the Board invests where the company does not have a plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

As the Globe notes, there is something of a debate among climate activists whether it is better to support divestment or the kind of activism represented by the Board’s action yesterday. In that context, the Globe noted Engine No. 1’s success last year in challenging Exxon directors.

I think that the answer lies in the Exxon vote. If climate activists successfully pressure investors to divest, who’s going to be left running companies such as Exxon?

I say, stay in the game. If climate concerns can win in corporate board rooms, who knows what can happen?