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shareholders back social responsibility

September 2001

A majority of shareholders in one of the UK’s largest energy companies have said they consider the company’s environmental and social performance ‘as important as its economic performance.’

Seventy-seven per cent of respondents to a Powergen survey agreed that its environmental and social performance ranked at the same level as financial performance, while 73 per cent said it ‘has the potential to significantly influence future performance.’

Just over half of the company’s shareholders who responded also claimed that they took into account a company’s environmental and social performance when considering whether to invest in it.

Powergen sent out 94,000 proxy voting forms to its private investors in May with a questionnaire asking them how much importance they place on social and environmental issues (EP1, 2001).

A total of 56,204 replied, representing 60 per cent of all proxy forms sent out. Powergen said the response rate was ‘very high: as a percentage of our total shareholder base it is an eight per cent response rate’. The questionnaire was not sent to institutional investors.

Pensions and Investment Research Consultants said the survey was ‘an important and positive initiative to gauge stakeholder opinion on Powergen’s corporate social responsibility profile’, though the methodology could be tightened up in the future.

Powergen made pre-tax profits of £468million ($676m) last year and has a market capitalization of £4.7billion.

 




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