Tim Smith, Senior Vice President and Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement for Walden Asset Management, visited Cleveland yesterday to raise awareness around shareholder advocacy and socially responsible investing. Smith was part of an open discussion breakfast and spoke at a First Friday Club lunch, both at The City Club.

Before joining Walden, Smith was the Executive Director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility for 24 years. He has won numerous awards in the fields of finance and sustainability, and serves on several boards and committees in these areas.

His address to the First Friday Club covered a variety of issues, including fracking, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in regard to investing and non-financial reporting, transparency, responsibility/election of boards of directors and shareholder resolutions.

In an interview after the forum, Smith said that he expects shareholder resolutions focusing on shale fracturing will continue as the practice becomes more widespread, according to The Plain Dealer. Votes in favor of requiring companies to look at the liability of fracking averaged 40% in 2011.

“People voted for it because they saw it as a risk that companies needed to address, and most of the companies understood this,” Smith said. “Significant votes only occur when you have made the case, you being the investor or the company, that it’s good for long-term shareholder value.”

UBS and BrownFlynn were responsible for bringing Smith to Cleveland and are delighted he was able to share his insights and experience with a capacity crowd at The City Club. Thank you to The City Club and First Friday Club of Cleveland for hosting.