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Microsoft Shareholders Vote on Climate-Focused TDF Resolution

ESG Investing

The measure titled “Investment of Retirement Funds in Companies Contributing to Climate Change” was considered by Microsoft shareholders last week.

Noting that “Microsoft uses BlackRock LifePath funds as its 401(k) Plan’s default retirement options, resulting in the vast majority of the $38 billion employee retirement dollars of its 401(k) Plan, as of December 31, 2020, invested in funds that hold companies that create substantial climate risk. A recent scorecard, produced by investor representative As You Sow, shows that the Microsoft 401(k) default option is rated Poor due to significant investments in fossil fuel companies and companies that cause deforestation risk.” 

Shareholder Proposal 3: Report on Investment of Retirement Funds in Companies Contributing to Climate Change went on to state that, “Given the threat that climate change poses to workers’ life savings, Microsoft should demonstrate that it is safeguarding employee financial security over time by mitigating climate change-related financial and economic risks as part of a prudently constructed lineup of funds. Failing to satisfy this basic duty could be a liability for the Company, creating reputational risk and making it more difficult to retain employees increasingly concerned about catastrophic climate impacts.”

As it turns out, the measure here was rejected—though it did receive the support of 11.21% of shareholder votes. 

Similar, recent votes at Amazon (9.1% of the overall vote supported it) and at Comcast (just 6% backed it) also came up short.