An interview with Jenna Armitage, chief marketing officer at Tulipshare.
Founded in London, Tulipshare aims to empower retail shareholders to invest their money to promote ethical change.
What makes Tulipshare’s approach towards shareholder advocacy unique?
Accessibility. Retail investors don’t just have an opportunity to vote at annual meetings by becoming a shareholder through Tulipshare but they also have an opportunity to engage around key environmental and social issues as soon as they buy shares. That’s powerful and something that individuals have never had an opportunity to do at scale. We’re providing access not only to change, but to dialogue and progress that individual retail investors haven’t seen or experienced before.
Last June, Tulipshare and As You Sow announced a partnership to help empower retail investors. Could you tell us more about the initiative?
As You Sow has been active in the shareholder advocacy community for over 30 years. They’re leaders in the space and were keen to partner with us to share their campaigns with our users and make shareholder activism more accessible for retail investors.
In the event that retail investors become more involved in the proxy voting process, do you expect to see more support for ESG shareholder campaigns?
We believe that engagement is going to be increasingly important to push ESG initiatives. With increased awareness around the proxy season amongst retail investors, we do believe there will be higher scrutiny around shareholder proposals, institutional voting guidelines, and responses from companies around some of these initiatives. Companies need to engage with all their investors, both retail and institutional, and not just the wealthy few. It is our responsibility as shareholders to expect high standards from the companies we invest in and hold them accountable.
Where do you think the most plentiful opportunities for activism currently lie?
At Tulipshare, we are looking to achieve highly quantifiable engagement, such as reducing Coca-Cola’s single use plastic bottle sales by 750 million a year by 2025; linking Tesla’s executive compensation to ESG performance; and ensuring fair and safe working environments for Amazon warehouse workers.
We engage with companies on issues such as climate change, human rights, racial equity, political spending, and operational transparency – issues in the companies making the largest impact in our day to day lives while actively encouraging them to make meaningful changes.
If you could introduce one corporate governance reform, whether it be in the U.S. or internationally, what would it be?
There is certainly demand for standardised ESG audits and mandatory ESG reporting, as an extension to quarterly accounting reports.
Looking ahead, what does Tulipshare have planned for 2023?
Product line expansion, geographic expansion, and increasing the number of shareholder engagements. A lapse in corporate governance is not only specific to the U.S. It is our job as activist investors to continuously engage with companies and push them to meet better environmental, social, and governance targets, and drive change that creates better outcomes for investors and the planet. The asset management industry must start prioritising corporate governance in order to generate impact beyond just returns.