Want to join a Board to engage with shareholder advocacy? Here's how


It’s not just an exciting time to be a shareholder advocate, it’s a critically important time. That is the key message from research and shareholder advocacy organisation, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR).


“If used effectively, shareholder strategy offers some of the most powerful decarbonisation tools available. We are rapidly running out of time to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, so the imperative to exploit these tools to their full potential couldn’t be stronger,” said ACCR Executive Director Brynn O’Brien.

ACCR’s focus is on engaging with investors on how listed companies, industry associations, and other entities are managing climate, labour, human rights and governance issues. Founded as a non-profit organisation in 2012, ACCR has since promoted ethical investment and assisted investors through education, research, collaboration, engagement and advocacy.

ACCR Director, Howard Pender, recently reached out to Women on Boards to help with the recruitment of a new board director through WOB’s Vacancy Board ‘Premium Plan’ service. WOB previously helped source Professor Marian Baird AO for the ACCR Research committee, which she now Chairs.

Howard said 2023 is an exciting time to join the ACCR board. “Sometimes I get asked – what’s coming in the next decade? I say – all I can see are the intellectual forces at work.

ACCR’s purpose is to assist ‘ethical investors so that humanity may live more justly and within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems’. Every day, in pursuit of that purpose, we deal with people who are stewards of other people’s money – e.g. company directors, superannuation trustees.

“So, the legal and intellectual framework behind the conduct of these stewards is vital to the nature and impact of our work.”

Howard said in the last few years that framework has started to shift away from the limited  paradigm of ‘Modern Portfolio Theory’ to the new concept which sees most investors as ‘universal owners’: “investors whose best interests entail adoption of a stewardship approach which seeks to curtail activity undertaken by a company they own if it causes social and environmental costs, e.g. damages ecosystems.”

“The future focus and impact of ACCR’s work will be heavily influenced by this paradigm shift (and the pushback against it) in process.”

He said in 2023 ACCR will also continue to focus on attempting to restrain corporate political activity that misuses shareholder funds for socially, environmentally or ‘body politic’ damaging purposes.

Highlights of ACCR’s recent work include:

  • Since 2021, ACCR has filed 32 shareholder resolutions in Australia, two in Japan and one in the United Kingdom. Resolutions received strong (in some cases record-breaking) proxy voting results, as well as national and global media exposure.
  • Publishing world-leading research on each of Shell and BP’s climate transition plan, showing material differences in their disclosed emissions pathways.
  • Facilitating path-breaking collaborative engagement with major asset managers and Japanese listed companies in the utilities and steelmaking sectors.
  • Commencing a world-first legal ‘greenwashing’ case against Australian oil and gas producer Santos in 2021. 
  • Along with a global coalition of institutional investors ACCR filed a shareholder resolution with Glencore plc for the 2023 AGM, supported by ground-breaking research that showed the world’s largest coal trader’s thermal coal business does not appear to be Paris-aligned.  
  • In 2023 members’ statements filed by ACCR and two institutional investors led to record-breaking votes against Woodside directors - in the case of one director, a “no” vote of 35%. These were globally significant votes against incumbent directors of a top ten global independent fossil fuel producer, showing that accountability for climate governance failures has finally reached board level, where it belongs.

About ACCR

ACCR has a team of over 25 staff, mostly based in Australia, working globally, with a wide range of relevant expertise including climate science, communications, engineering, law, equities analysis, finance, investor relations, IT and more.

ACCR is philanthropically funded, not-for-profit, and independent. It is a member of both the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA). 

Join the ACCR Board

ACCR is seeking a new board member.  The successful applicant will be appointed to the board (likely to be around July/August 2023) with the intent that they will be recommended for election at the next AGM (November 2023). Skills sought include Stakeholder Engagement, Governance, Law, Public Policy, Sustainability /ESG. The closing date is 30 May 2023. 

To find out more, or apply, click HERE

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