Tag Archives: shareowner activism

Investing in Sustainability

nickrobinscarykrosinskyToday, Sea Change Radio talks with Nick Robins of HSBC and Cary Krosinsky of Trucost about their book, Sustainable Investing.  We also visit the Responsible Investing Forum, produced in association with the Social Investment Forum, where we speak with Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management about shareowner activism and hear the excerpts from the keynote of John Ruggie, the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights.

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Tim Smith on Shareowner Activism

timsmith1

Tim Smith, an early innovators of shareowner activism in the 1970s, analyzes this year’s proxy season. Smith was head of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ICCR practically invented the process of filing shareholder resolutions at companies they invest in raising concern around the environmental, society, and governance — now known as ESG. For years, he attended companies’ general meetings during proxy season when investors vote on shareholder resolutions.

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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”

Activist Investors Promote Genocide-Free Mutual Funds

CWR co-hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon speak with Eric Cohen, chairperson for Investors against Genocide and Tim Smith, senior vice president at Walden Asset Management and immediate past chair of the Social Investment Forum, about the campaign promoting targeted divestment by mutual funds from companies supporting the Khartoum regime in the Sudan.

Smith, who helped pioneer the practice of shareholder activism encouraging companies to adopt more sustainable and responsible practices as a founder of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, discusses the novelty and efficacy of engaging mutual funds, which has rarely been practiced until now.

Eric Cohen
Eric Cohen
Cohen explains the strategy in-depth, noting that the SEC upheld its validity after mutual fund giant Fidelity challenged it legally. He also cites a 2007 survey in which 71% of respondents said that mutual fund companies should take into account extreme cases of human rights abuses when investing overseas, rather than make their investment decisions on economic criteria alone.

edited transcript of this interview on SocialFunds.com

Investors against Genocide

Fidelity Confirms Vote on Genocide-free Investing

Walden Asset Management

Social Investment Forum

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

July 5, 2006 edition of CWR: “Sudan Divestment”

May 22, 2007 SocialFunds article: “Fidelity Divests Large Chunk of Sudan-Related Holdings”

July 21, 2006 SocialFunds article: “Filing Resolutions at Mutual Funds: The Next Frontier for Shareowner Activism?”

March 9, 2006 SocialFunds article: “Sudan Presents Investment Risk as Genocidal Regime and State Sponsor of Terrorism”

June 1, 2005 SocialFunds article: “Students and States Seek to End Genocide in Sudan Through Divestment Campaigns”

December 10, 2004 SocialFunds article: “Divesting From Genocide: A Conversation with Eric Reeves of the Divest Sudan Campaign”

December 14, 2004 SocialFunds article: “Divesting from Genocide: More Conversation with Eric Reeves of the Divest Sudan Campaign”

Shareowner Activism Promotes Peace in Israel and Palestine

Cecilie-SuraskyCecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace and Michael Passoff of the As You Sow Foundation discuss the shareowner resolution they filed with Caterpillar over the Israeli Defense Forces’ use of their bulldozers to commit human rights abuses in the occupied territories. Bill Somplatsky-Jarman of the Presbyterian Church USA discusses how its Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee is engaging Caterpillar, Citigroup, Motorolla, United Technologies, and ITT to promote peaceful solutions to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

SocialFunds article: Semantics and Semitics: Presbyterian Church Investment to Focus on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

SocialFunds article: Caterpillar Bulldozes Shareowner Concern Over Aiding Alleged Israeli War Crimes

SocialFunds article: To Divest or Not to Divest: Ethical Considerations of Addressing the Israel-Palestine Conflict

SocialFunds article: Addressing the Israel-Palestine Conflict Through Shareowner Action and Selective Divestment