The Past, Present, and Future of Shareowner Activism

Laura Berry
Laura Berry
Corporate Watchdog Radio co-hosts Francesca Rheannon and Bill Baue speak with Laura Berry, executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Founded in 1971, ICCR pioneered the modern practice of shareowner activism by reviving an obscure rule allowing shareowners to file resolutions addressing social and environmental issues at company annual meetings and on their proxies. Now, over three-and-a-half decades later, ICCR is a coalition of about 275 faith-based institutional investors with over $100 billion in assets who filed over 300 resolutions this proxy season.

Berry clarifies common misconceptions about how the ins and outs of shareowner activism. For example, media accounts often report a less-than-majority vote as a “defeat,” when in fact, companies often implement what resolutions request when they receive 20 percent or more support. She also discusses transformations she sees taking place in the corporate social responsibility landscape.

CWR also debuts a new segment with headlines on corporate sustainability developments from the past week, the first in a series of exciting changes to enhance the show.

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Edited transcript of this interview on SocialFunds.com

CWR HEADLINES:

February 27, 2008 Geophysical Research Letters abstract: “Stabilizing climate requires near-zero emissions”

February 29, 2008 Reuters article: “Weyerhaeuser, Chevron Form Biofuels Joint Venture”

February 28, 2008 Gristmill blog on “Stabilizing climate requires near-zero emissions”

February 27, 2008 New York Times article: “Flooded Village Files Suit, Citing Corporate Link to Climate Change”