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BlackRock Inc., the world’s No. 1 asset manager, reported on Tuesday a sharp drop in its support for environmental and social-related shareholder resolutions, saying many were too prescriptive, while its backing for directors and executive pay held steady.

BlackRock had warned in May it would back fewer shareholder resolutions because many were too constraining, requiring banks, for example, to stop funding energy companies, or directing their climate lobbying activities.

The investment giant also cited November guidance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that resulted in fewer shareholder resolutions being blocked by the regulator and 245 being put before investors, up 133 per cent on the year.

In the 12 months to the end of June, BlackRock said in a report it had supported 71 of the 321 environmental or social (E&S) shareholder resolutions filed globally, excluding Japan, or 22 per cent of the total. Average market-wide support was 26 per cent, it said.

In the previous year, BlackRock had supported 81 of the 172 E&S resolutions filed, or 47 per cent.

“We observed a marked increase in E&S shareholder proposals that went to a vote and many more proposals were unduly constraining on management or were overly prescriptive as to information sought or time frames,” the report said.

“Others failed to recognize the progress made such that companies had largely met the ask of the proposal.”

The majority of votes opposed by BlackRock, some 46 per cent, were because the company had already implemented the changes requested, or had made progress on the issue. A further 21 per cent were rejected for being too prescriptive.

Globally, BlackRock said it voted on more than 173,000 proposals at more than 18,000 shareholder meetings. This followed a record 3,690 meetings with company management.

On the issue of directors seeking election or re-election to the board, which together make up the bulk of all votes globally, BlackRock said it had backed 90 per cent of directors, unchanged from the prior year.

Regarding pay-related resolutions, BlackRock said it backed 80 per cent of the 14,995 votes held globally. It backed 72 per cent of votes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, up from 70 per cent in the prior year; and 89 per cent in the Americas, down from 92 per cent a year earlier.

Support across all agenda items was given to 57 per cent of companies, unchanged year-on-year.

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