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Coal: Shareholder Resolutions

In 2013, As You Sow filed new shareholder resolutions asking electric utilities to report on strategies and quantitative goals to reduce risks related to water quantity from the company's power generation and operations.

The electric power sector is one of the largest users of water in the U.S., accounting for 41% of our nation's freshwater withdrawals. During times of drought or water stress, when adequate quantities of water are not available or are too warm to efficiently cool power systems, utilities may be forced to reduce power production or shut down. Reliance on the most water-intensive energy sources, such as coal and nuclear power, presents a critical vulnerability for electric utilities and material financial risk to shareholders.

With record drought and heat in 2012 and climate change expected to exacerbate these water-related risks, As You Sow believes that successful electric utilities will be those that are prepared to:

  1. Address changing water availability and temperature

  2. Measure and manage their water use

  3. Mitigate the risks that water quantity and quality issues can pose to their operations

This resolution builds upon our 2011 and 2012 resolutions, which asked companies to report on the financial risks of continued reliance on coal for electricity generation.

The coal risks identified were based on findings published in As You Sow's 2011 Financial Risks of Investments in Coal White Paper and the 2012 Update.

As You Sow finds it essential for investors to know how companies perceive the risks related to coal and how companies plan to transition to cleaner energy sources to protect both their investments and the environment.

Ameren

Our 2013 resolution asks for a report on the strategies and quantitative goals to reduce water use and thermal impacts on receiving waterways from the company's power generation and operations.

We negotiated a withdrawal of our shareholder resolution in exchange for Ameren's committment to take the following actions:

  • Improve disclosure of water risks in the company's corporate social responsibility report based on guidelines agreed upon with As You Sow

  • Provide an opportunity for As You Sow to review and comment on the report before it is finalized

  • Complete the Carbon Disclosure Project Water Questionnaire

  • Tom Voss, Ameren's CEO, will discuss our work with the company on this issue in his comments at the annual shareholder meeting

FirstEnergy

Our 2013 resolution asked for a report on the strategies and quantitative goals to reduce risks to and impacts on water quantity and quality, above and beyond regulatory compliance, from the company's power generation and operations.

FirstEnergy submitted a challenge to our resolution at the SEC, who subsequently ruled that the resolution could be excluded from the proxy ballot.

>>Recent media clippings for the Coal initiative


Previous Resolutions

Shareholders voiced strong support for our 2012 resolutions at Duke Energy, FirstEnergy, and Ameren. These votes exceed the SEC-defined threshold for success: Ameren received over three times the support required for a first-year proposal; the vote at Duke increased by 41% over a similar resolution filed last year.

The results of our 2012 resolutions are below:

Read our 2012 Proxy Background Memo for a full discussion of the coal-related risks highlighted in As You Sow's 2012 shareholder proposals.

Results from our 2011 resolutions asking companies to report on the financial risks related to their reliance on coal are below:

For information on our 2010 coal ash shareholder initiative, please click here.

Read more about interpreting shareholder votes here.

 

 



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