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Shareholder Activism

A shareholder activist is someone who attempts to use his or her rights as a shareholder of a publicly-traded corporation to bring about social change. Shareholder activism is a way in which shareholders can influence a corporation’s behavior by exercising their rights as owners. Although shareholders don’t run a company, there are ways for them to influence the board of directors and management. If you buy shares of a publicly owned company (even if you only buy one share), you are technically a part owner and have the right to speak at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and question the directors of the company on any issue you would like answered. Some of the issues most often addressed by shareholder activists are related to the environment, investments in politically sensitive parts of the world and workers’ rights (sweatshops).