Corporations have embraced the idea of corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) under the general framework of sustainability. Studies have measured and analyzed the impact of internal sustainability efforts on the performance of individual companies, policies, and projects. This exploratory study attempts to extract useful insight from shareholder sustainability resolutions using machine learning-based text analytics. Prior research has studied corporate sustainability disclosures from public reports. By studying shareholder resolutions, we gain insight into the shareholders’ perspectives and objectives. The primary source for this study is the Ceres sustainability shareholder resolution database, with 1737 records spanning 2009–2019. The study utilizes a combination of text analytic approaches (i.e., word cloud, co-occurrence, row-similarities, clustering, classification, etc.) to extract insights. These are novel methods of transforming textual data into useful knowledge about corporate sustainability endeavors. This study demonstrates that stakeholders, such as shareholders, can influence corporate sustainability via resolutions. The incorporation of text analytic techniques offers insight to researchers who study vast collections of unstructured bodies of text, improving the understanding of shareholder resolutions and reaching a wider audience.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited