BlackRock – Proxy Voting (2017) — Issue Type =
Outcome: Successfully withdrawn following a productive dialogue around how the asset manager engages portfolio companies on workplace equality issues. During our dialogue BlackRock issued its Investment Stewardship Team’s first ever engagement priorities outlining ESG focus areas for 2017-2018. Among these priorities is human capital management, where BlackRock plans to probe companies on their approach to employee development, diversity, equal employment opportunity, health and safety, labor relations, and supply chain labor standards. Additionally, BlackRock has clarified the Investment Stewardship Team’s willingness to vote against management when “companies are insufficiently responsive to our efforts to protect the long-term economic interests of our clients.” BlackRock's linkage of its proxy voting to diversity and equal employment opportunity gives us confidence that the LGBT discrimination concerns we raised with BlackRock in the shareholder proposal will be getting priority attention and will impact voting analysis.