Goldman Sachs Asset Management | Review 2023 proxy voting record and proxy voting policies related to diversity and climate change

Status
Filed
Resolution details
Company ticker
NYSE: GS
Resolution ask
Adopt or amend a policy
ESG theme
  • Environment
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)
  • Net Zero / Paris aligned
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Financials
Company HQ country
United States
Supporting materials
  • PCUSA 2024 Shareholder Proposal - Goldman Sachs (1).pdf Download
  • PCUSA 2024 Shareholder Proposal - Goldman Sachs (1).pdf Download
Resolved clause
Shareowners request that the Board of Directors initiate a review of both Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s 2023 proxy voting record and proxy voting policies related to diversity and climate change, prepared at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information.
Whereas clause
Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM)is a respected global financial services leader providing multiple investment options for clients addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics.

GSAM understands the materiality of climate risk and its negative impact on companies and the economy, however our voting record on climate-related proposals has dropped dramatically putting us far behind many other investment firms. According to ShareAction’s 2022 ranking of the top 68 managers1 voting record on 252 shareholder proposals , GSAM ranked 59th of 68 asset managers assessed, supporting only 35% of overall proposals, and only 56% of environmental resolutions. And in 2023 GSAM votes declined further on climate and racial justice resolutions, for example voting for only 4 climate resolutions out of 65 (according to NPX filings of S&P 500 companies provided by Diligent).

This proxy voting record seems inconsistent with GSAM’s membership in several investing initiatives:
• The Principles for Responsible Investment, a global investor network representing more than $120 trillion in assets urges investors to vote on ESG issues and “prioritize addressing systemic sustainability issues”2
.
• Climate Action 100+, an investor initiative urging the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to reduce emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement, flags votes for its members; Goldman lagged peers, voting for only 3 of 20 flagged proposals
3
When voting GSAM looks primarily at near-term risk created for a specific company. Such an approach is shortsighted and fails to acknowledge a multitude of physical and transition-related risks.
In addition, proxy voting that appears to ignore the full scope of climate risks creates reputational and business risk for the company, especially with global clients committed to ESG and concerned about the broader economic impact of climate change.
Similarly, we believe diversity issues are of material importance to companies and investors. For years Goldman Sachs has affirmed its commitment to diversity. But the proxy voting record on diversity and inclusion issues did not reflect GSAM’s stated positions on diversity, another concerning misalignment.
We further believe it is GSAM’s fiduciary responsibility to consider the impacts of climate and diversity risks on both portfolio companies and portfolios as a whole and vote accordingly.
Thus, we request this special review.
1 https://shareaction.org/reports/voting
Supporting statement
Proponents suggest the review include the following among other topics:
• Any misalignment of the company’s policy and voting record with the goals of the Paris Agreement, industry initiatives of which Goldman Sachs is part and its own stated policies.
• A comparison with the voting record of other major investment firms and mutual funds
• Recommendations for strengthening voting guidelines on climate-related issues.

DISCLAIMER: By including a shareholder resolution or management proposal in this database, neither the PRI nor the sponsor of the resolution or proposal is seeking authority to act as proxy for any shareholder; shareholders should vote their proxies in accordance with their own policies and requirements.

Any voting recommendations set forth in the descriptions of the resolutions and management proposals included in this database are made by the sponsors of those resolutions and proposals, and do not represent the views of the PRI.

Information on the shareholder resolutions, management proposals and votes in this database have been obtained from sources that are believed to be reliable, but the PRI does not represent that it is accurate, complete, or up-to-date, including information relating to resolutions and management proposals, other signatories’ vote pre-declarations (including voting rationales), or the current status of a resolution or proposal. You should consult companies’ proxy statements for complete information on all matters to be voted on at a meeting.