GMOs, Global Warming, CERES Shareholder Resolutions

According to the IRRC (Investor Responsibility Research Center), there has been a substantial increase in shareholder resolutions for the 2000 proxy season. Out of 108 socially-oriented proposals over 90% exceeded the 3% of the vote required to submit again in 2001. The highest performing resolutions call on companies to diversify their boards of directors. At American Power Conversion, the vote was 30.1% in favor. The second highest level of support went to resolutions calling on companies to implement the MacBride Principles on Northern Ireland.

Resolutions on genetically modified organisms were hot this year, filed with 21 companies (2000 was the first year for GMO resolutions). They commonly call on companies – such as Monsanto, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Campbell’s, Heinz, General Mills, Kellogg – to stop sales of products with GM ingredients pending further safety tests. Some of the annual meetings are set for the coming months, but of those where the vote has been taken, only two, McDonald’s & Kellogg, did not achieve 3%. On the other hand, votes only garnered an average of 4%.

Among other environmental shareholder resolutions, “Report on global warming emissions & misinformation” was the most popular with 11 resolutions. Companies included Alleghany Energy (8.87%), Chevron (8.7%), Eastman Chemical (7%). Shareholders withdrew resolutions from Duke Energy, Cinergy, Goodyear and Texaco when they agreed to enter into discussion. “Endorse CERES principles” was also popular, gathering about 9.9% of the vote at Aetna, Allstate, Dana, and Whirlpool. Niagara Mohawk shareholders voted in favor by 18.7%; at Lilly, the resolution received only 4.7%. Resolutions at Alcoa and Hasbro were withdrawn pending discussion. BP Amoco (13.5%),
Chevron (7.1%) and ExxonMobil (5.4%) were asked to “Cancel Drilling in Arctic Wildlife Refuge.”
Other resolutions:

“Criteria for underwriting 3 Gorges Dam”: Morgan Stanley (6.1%) and Citigroup (withdrawn)
“Reduce radioactive emissions”: Ameren (13.3%)
“Drilling on indigenous land”: Occidental Petroleum (6.1%)
“Expand energy conservation”: Pinnacle West (5.3%)
“Phase out chlorine-bleached paper”: Procter & Gamble (October) and TYCO International (3.2%)
“Phase out PVC medical products”: Cardinal Health (November)
“Report on environmental impact & plans”: Enron (8.8%)
“Adopt non-toxic chemical policy”: Chevron (6.7%)
“Promote renewable resources”: ExxonMobil (6.2%)
“Reduce Fuel consumption”: Ford and GM (both withdrawn)
“PCB Education/ Disclose costs of delay in PCB clean-up”: General Electric (8.99%)
“Phase out old growth wood sales”: Home Depot (withdrawn)

The Corporate Examiner
, newsletter of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

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