Denmark’s AkademikerPension has said today it will use its voting power to support most of the shareholder proposals at tomorrow’s annual general meetings (AGMs) of both Facebook’s parent company Meta, and online retailer Amazon.
The pension fund is backing items added to Amazon’s agenda by other owners related to human rights, climate and tax, while supporting the idea of making Facebook go public about the effect of targeted ads.
Anders Schelde, chief investment officer at the DKK178bn (€23.9bn) pension fund, said: “Meta, which is behind Facebook, is such a big player on the internet that we believe that much more transparency is needed in a lot of the company’s business areas.”
The labour-market pension fund, which admits academic degree holders, said it would vote in favour of 11 out of 12 submitted shareholder proposals at the Meta AGM, backing a proposal that Facebook should publish a human rights assessment to examine the actual and potential human rights impacts of Facebook’s targeted ads.
“We are also voting in favour of a shareholder proposal that Facebook should investigate the risk of increased sexual exploitation of children online as the company offers more confidentiality tools and end-to-end encryption,” said Schelde.
AkademikerPension will also support a proposal that Facebook reports on its lobbying activities and lobbying expenses, he said.
The pension fund said Meta’s management had opposed several of the proposals and attempted to avoid having them put to the vote, but that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had rejected these protests by the company.
Regarding Amazon, which is also holding its AGM on Wednesday, AkademikerPension said it would vote in favour of 14 out of 15 shareholder proposals submitted – including proposals on human rights, climate and tax.
The pension fund described as “historic” a proposal submitted by a group of investors which would force Amazon’s management to be more open about the company’s tax payments – by having to publish a report in future describing its business activities, revenue, profits and tax payments for each country in which it operates.
Schelde said that as a long-term investor, AkademikerPension had put pressure and been in dialogue with companies throughout its portfolio about their tax practices.
“Investors and other stakeholders are increasingly expecting leading companies committed to sustainable development and corporate responsibility to take the lead in corporate tax transparency by producing public country-by-country tax reports,” the CIO said.
This proposal was also opposed by Amazon’s management, but on 4 April, the SEC turned down the internet giant’s attempt to disallow it, the pension fund said.
IPE contacted both Meta and Amazon for responses to AkademikerPension’s remarks about its voting intentions, but no immediate replies were received.