It’s that time of year when shareholder activists plot their strategies to needle, cajole, and confront Corporate America later this spring in the proxy season.

As has been the case for several years, executive compensation is a major concern. Buoyed by Verizon’s decision to adopt shareholder advisory votes over executive pay and Aflac’s plan to move up its advisory vote on the issue to this year—marking the first time such a vote has ever happened in the United States—activists plan to file a sizable number of similar measures.

Another issue sure to dominate discussion this year was hardly a thought in ...