Given the urgency to address the climate change crisis, the purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of 12 macro-level antecedents on energy and environmental (E&E) shareholder activism in 12 developed countries. Focus was placed on shareholder-initiated E&E resolutions.
Panel regressions were used to evaluate the relationships between the macro-level antecedents and two dependent variables, namely, the number of shareholder-initiated E&E resolutions filed and voting support for these resolutions.
The number of shareholder-initiated E&E resolutions filed increased slightly over the research period (2010–2019) but received very little voting support on average. Most of the 1,116 considered resolutions centred on the adoption or amendment of nuclear and environmental policies. Several resolutions called for improved E&E reporting. A significant relationship was found between the number of shareholder-initiated E&E resolutions filed and the rule of law.
The empirical evidence confirmed limited voting support for shareholder-initiated E&E resolutions and the importance of the rule of law in advancing the E&E social movement.
As the E&E social movement is gaining momentum, listed companies in the considered countries are likely to experience more pressure from shareholder activists.
To achieve participatory and inclusive climate governance, shareholder activists should collaborate more closely with other challengers in the E&E social movement, notably policy makers and those promoting the rule of law.
The authors considered macro-level antecedents of E&E shareholder activism that have received scant attention in earlier studies. Social movement theory was used as a novel theoretical lens.