Starbucks to Eliminate Plastic Straws by 2020

Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow, said on Monday that he was glad Starbucks had decided to do away with plastic straws. He added that public officials also need to improve composting programs to handle the increase in biodegradable straws Starbucks is proposing to use.

“A big systemic change needs to happen,” he said. “This kind of material wouldn’t break down in your backyard compost bin.”

Read More
New investment site helps people avoid funding gun manufacturers, military contractors

Weapon Free Funds breaks down the individual offerings from investment companies. The Equity Index 500 fund from T. Rowe Price, for instance, has 18 weapons stocks; its New Horizons fund has just three. The Health Sciences, Emerging Markets, and Global Technology funds have no weapons companies. Users can also pick their battles, as it were–filtering on all types of weapons makers or on just military weapons or just civilian firearms.

Read More
As You Sow launches investor alliance to engage companies on plastic pollution

As You Sow is pleased to announce the launch of the Plastic Solutions Investor Alliance, an international coalition of investors that will engage publicly traded consumer goods companies on the threat posed by plastic waste and pollution. Twenty-five institutional investors from four countries with a combined $1 trillion of assets under management have signed a declarationciting plastic pollution as a clear corporate brand risk and pledging to interact with leading companies to find solutions through new corporate commitments, programs, and policies.

Read More
Chevron faces climate test at meeting today

What we’re hearing: The methane resolution is likely to pass the 50% mark because similar votes have passed at other companies. Getting this support likely indicates company adoption of whatever the non-binding proposal calls for.

The other vote is unlikely to pass, according to Danielle Fugere, president of nonprofit As You Sow, which filed the resolution on behalf of some Chevron investors. This is in part because it’s going a step further and asking for strategy change.

Read More
Do Media Chiefs Deserve the Lavish Pay Packages They Rake In?

“It’s a warped economic system,” says Rosanna Landis Weaver, program manager of the CEO Pay Program at shareholder advocacy group As You Sow.

To be fair, the job is fraught with peril. Many of these media chiefs are navigating a rapidly changing world order, one in which movie attendance is slipping in popularity and cable cords are being cut. If that’s not enough, there’s a massive wave of consolidation afoot among the traditional media giants, as a way to compete in the direct-to-consumer space with streaming powerhouse Netflix.

“Looking back, it will be interesting to see whether or not the companies that managed all the changes the best were the ones with the highest-paid executives,” says Landis Weaver.

Read More
3 Dozen Shareholder Climate Resolutions Target Oil, Gas and Power Companies

Companies that might be tempted to see the current administration's behavior as an excuse to delay acting on climate risks should be cautious—administrations change, and the oil and gas industry in particular is built on investments that require weighting risks decades into the future, said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, a non-profit shareholder advocacy organization. 

Read More
The SEC Just Made The Case For Divesting From Fossil Fuel Companies Much Stronger

The existence of the reports represents the start of slow change at these companies, said Danielle Fugere, president of the nonprofit As You Sow, which tracks shareholder proxy fights. Even if the reports are tailored to bolster companies’ profit outlook, she said they provide information to investors that can ultimately strengthen the case for divestment.

“Even when a company doesn’t necessarily give you the response you want, their response gives you information, and that’s the real goal,” she told HuffPost. “Obviously the oil and gas companies haven’t changed what they do, but from an investor perspective, even getting them to think about how they can transition is good.”

Read More
The gigantic sum Facebook pays for Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security

Whatever the reason for the sizable increase in security costs, some believe the company should be more transparent. "At a minimum, shareholders deserve disclosure about why" costs increase that noticeably, said Rosanna Landis Weaver, an executive compensation expert for the nonprofit As You Sow. "When there’s a marked increase like that, there should be an explanation in the footnotes."

Read More
Report Report: Customer insights, power purchasing, proxy preview and more

Proxy Preview 2018 (As You Sow, the Sustainable Investments Institute and Proxy Impact) features more than 400 shareholder resolutions filed on environmental, social and governance issues. The top three shareholder issues are political activity spending (80 resolutions), climate risk (80 resolutions) and equal treatment for women (70 resolutions). The 125 corporate signatories to the RE100 campaign need to add 87 gigawatts of new wind and solar power capacity worldwide by 2030 to meet their 100 percent renewable energy commitments, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance research. The report suggests that not all of the RE100 members will meet their commitment.

Read More
SEC Gives Exxon a Pass on Shareholder Climate Proposal, But Not Chevron

According to Fugere, Exxon is unlikely to continue to escape shareholder pressure.

“I’m sure shareholders will continue to ask the company to address this issue of how it’s preparing for a low-carbon economy,” she said. “Right now, Exxon’s [Energy and Carbon Summary] report argues there will still be sufficient demand, and the company will continue to provide oil so long as there’s sufficient demand.”

Read More
Starbucks Generates An Astronomical Amount Of Waste–Can It Stop?

“I’m not sure you need to look at developing dramatic materials,” says Conrad Mackerron, senior vice president of As You Sow. “We’ve got to figure out how to really fix the recycling system or really fix the composting system from that side. That’s much higher levels of investment. They need to go to their peers to get them to all give $10 or $20 billion. That would move it.”

Read More