"Chevron has lagged behind its peers on implementing and disclosing methane best practices for too long. Shareholders today recognize Chevron's progress, but underscore the importance of demonstrating on-the-ground change on this important climate change issue," Ms. Fugere said.Read More
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
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 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
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
As You Sow, Boston Common Asset Management and The Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) released the 2017 special edition of the Disclosing the Facts scorecard.Read More
It would have been difficult for Exxon to ignore the shareholder vote, said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow. "The inevitability of a decarbonizing economy makes it mission critical that Exxon address the risk to its business-as-usual model," she said. "We hope that Exxon's announcement signals a fundamental change in the company's direction on climate change."Read More
As You Sow has brought this issue to the attention of major companies, including Kellogg, a leader in sustainable agriculture who responded by agreeing to survey its supply chain about pre-harvest use of glyphosate.
"Experts, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, agree that pesticides are not necessary or helpful to feed the world," said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow. "Investors would be prudent to analyze their exposure to pesticide-intensive agriculture and prioritize sustainable solutions."Read More
Also, Danielle Fugure, president of California nonprofit As You Sow, said last month it withdrew a shareholder resolution calling for a climate risk report from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. In return, she said, the Texas company agreed to continue to work with her group and others to develop methods for reporting on climate risks that would be practical for the company but still convey to investors the full extent of the risks it could face.Read More
The decision by Duke Energy, the largest utility in the US, to switch to a virtual meeting this year, was criticised by As You Sow, a shareholder group that has put a resolution on the agenda demanding information on pollution from its coal-fired power plants.
“They do not want to face the folks they have harmed,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow. “Our goal is to make the board understand how important these issues are but, if you are so many voices on a webinar, you lose the impact of the message. It feels like they are running away from their shareholders.”Read More
“In many cases, I think businesses disagree with the administration,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, a nonprofit group that uses shareholder resolutions to advocate for greater corporate environmental and social responsibility.Read More
"Despite what the administration may or may not do, I really believe that corporations understand the risks posed by climate change," said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, a California nonprofit campaign group. It sponsored 18 climate-related shareholder resolutions in 2016 and expects to file a bigger number next year.Read More
“One of the biggest drivers right now is the potential for decreasing demand,” says Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel of As You Sow, the nonprofit that wrote both reports. “And that’s driven by climate change… We’re in a decarbonizing economy. That’s one of the flags for companies–are they adjusting to that?”Read More
“Folks perceive them to be a leader in the fight against addressing climate change,” said Danielle Fugere, president of the As You Sow nonprofit group, one of several that submitted resolutions to Exxon.
“They are the face of the anti-climate movement. And I think that’s why we see so many resolutions against Exxon,” Fugere said.Read More
“In a carbon-constrained world, what’s going to happen with these companies?” asked Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel of the activist group As You Sow. “Traditionally, they’ve had to replace their reserves, or the market penalizes them. So how do they make this transition that we think is necessary?”
Chevron’s corporate board, however, has recommended shareholders reject the proposal, calling it unnecessary and confusing. As You Sow, based in Oakland, has presented the same proposal to ExxonMobil shareholders for their annual meeting on Wednesday, with Exxon’s board also opposing the change.
“It would be making a statement that Big Oil is really Big Energy,” said Andrew Behar, As You Sow’s chief executive officer. “When we have conversations with them, they keep saying, ‘No, no, we’re an energy company.’ And we say, ‘But you report in oil.’ You are what you measure.”
As You Sow’s proposal would expand that notion of comparing one resource to another, measuring all of an oil company’s reserves or energy-generating assets in BTUs. (One BTU represents the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.)Read More
Come May 18, at the company's annual meeting in suburban Lincolnshire, Mondelez shareholders will vote on a proposal introduced by As You Sow, a California-based nonprofit that challenges corporations on social and environmental issues. The group has brought similar proposals to Mondelez investors for the last three years, receiving about 28 percent support last year.
"We are sending a message here that's slowly catching on," said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow. "We'll see what happens."
Oreo and Chips Ahoy cookies are "increasingly packaged in flexible film or other plastic packaging, such as pouches, that are not recyclable," according to As You Sow's proposal.
As You Sow is requesting a report that would assess the environmental impact and financial risks of using nonrecyclable packaging and set a timeline for phasing out such materials.
As You Sow doesn't typically buy shares of a given company directly, instead partnering with like-minded shareholders who sign off on the group representing their interests, MacKerron said.
"Over the years, McDonald's has engaged in constructive dialogue with As You Sow on a variety of topics, such as a multistakeholder project to address supply chain working conditions in Chinese toy factories and general conversations with updates on McDonald's packaging," McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb said in an email.
The proposals are intended to "forestall harm, create value for the company or hopefully both," said Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel of As You Sow. And even shareholder proposals that receive very little support can start a conversation within a company.
"It's an important process no matter what the outcome is in a given year," Fugere said.Read More
One resolution, supported by the Oakland-based nonprofit advocacy group As You Sow, requested that the company report its energy resources in terms of BTUs, a scientifically-recognized measurement of energy, rather than in terms of “barrels of oil equivalent.” What this does is level the playing field by treating all forms of energy, including renewables, as essentially interchangeable.
Danielle Fugere, As You Sow’s president and chief counsel, pleased with the SEC ruling, said: “Exxon must allow shareholders to vote on this first step on the path toward clean energy. Broad support will give management the latitude to develop a diverse and profitable low-carbon business plan, while maintaining 100 percent BTU energy replacements.”
As You Sow also filed a petition with the SEC to change this metric for the entire industry.Read More
Testing commissioned by As You Sow, and conducted at independent laboratories, indicates that the chocolate products contain lead and/or cadmium, and they fail to provide the legally required warning to consumers.
“Lead exposure is associated with neurological impairment, such as learning disabilities and decreased IQ, even at very low levels. In fact, there is no safe level of lead for children," said Eleanne van Vliet, MPH, As You Sow's environmental health consultant.
As You Sow has filed legal notices against chocolate manufacturers, including Trader Joe's, Hershey's, Green and Black's, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See's Candies, Mars, Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Ghirardelli, Earth Circle Organics and more, for failure to warn of lead and/or cadmium in their chocolate products.
Recent revelations of lead contamination in water in Flint, Michigan raised awareness that lead is irrefutably linked to neurological impacts in children. Since 1992, As You Sow has led enforcement actions resulting in removal of lead from children's jewelry and formaldehyde from portable classrooms.
“Lead and cadmium accumulate in the body, so avoiding exposure is important, especially for children," explained Danielle Fugere, As You Sow president. “Our goal is to work with chocolate manufacturers to find ways to avoid these metals in their products."Read More
“We are pleased the SEC sided with shareholders concerned with climate risk," said Danielle Fugere, As You Sow's president and chief counsel. “Exxon must allow shareholders to vote on this first step on the path toward clean energy. Broad support will give management the latitude to develop a diverse and profitable low carbon business plan, while maintaining 100 percent BTU energy replacements."
In response to Exxon's SEC bid to stop the resolution from being voted on by shareholders, As You Sow successfully argued that, “... in a rapidly decarbonizing economy, fossil fuel companies must develop climate change-responsive business models" and one possible path is to transition into energy companies not dependent on carbon intense, climate damaging commodities.
Exxon currently accounts for its energy assets in “barrels of oil equivalent." As You Sow noted in its SEC reply that this accounting measure discourages a low carbon transition by linking the calculation of a company's assets, and therefore its value, to carbon based-metrics.
As You Sow is simultaneously filing a petition with the SEC to change its reporting requirements to an energy neutral metric, which will free the oil industry as a whole from oil-dependent financial valuation.Read More
As You Sow, a California-based consumer advocacy group, believes that some chocolate has more lead than necessary. An updated survey released by the group this week found levels of lead in chocolate at nine times the daily amount that California considers safe to avoid reproductive harm. In addition, the group also found cadmium up to seven times the state's maximum daily exposure.
The group had multiple samples of 50 different cocoa products analyzed by an independent lab and found more than half contained lead and cadmium levels above the state's limits, which are more strict than federal guidelines. As You Sow won't disclose the exact amounts of metals found in the products, in hopes of working directly with the manufacturers to help target sources of these metals, it said.
"Our goal is to work with chocolate manufacturers to find ways to avoid these metals in their products," said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow.
Eleanne Van Vliet, a consultant on testing for As You Sow, said that lead and cadmium can enter the products a variety of ways.
"It depends on the growing, processing, manufacturing, shipping. So there are a few possible sources, from our research," she said. "We would really like to have the chocolate industry come together and determine the sources."
She says consumer groups and advocates like As You Sow have become more powerful and political with the help of social media. Last March, As You Sow was active in helping remove titanium dioxide nanoparticles from Dunkin Donuts' powdered sugar. Recently, Mars, the maker of M&M's and Snickers, announced that it will begin to include genetically modified food labeling on its products in order to comply with a 2014 Vermont law that requires food with genetically modified products to be labeled.Read More