Monster Beverage Shareholders to Vote on Concerns Over Slavery and Human Trafficking in its Supply Chain

MEDIA CONTACT: Cyrus Nemati, [email protected], (510) 735-8157

OAKLAND, CA—May 3, 2018—Shareholders of Monster Beverage Corporation will vote at the annual meeting June 7 on shareholder proposal #4 asking Monster to report on slavery and human trafficking in its supply chain. In October 2016, KnowtheChain report gave Monster a score of 0 (zero), coming in dead last among peers, indicating a severe lack of accountability in its supply chain with significant risk for slavery and human trafficking.

Cane sugar, a key ingredient in Monster’s products, is known for the use of child labor or forced labor in Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Pakistan, and other countries according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Monster has not disclosed any practices to address forced labor in these countries. Its peers, Coca-Cola (a major Monster shareholder), Nestlé and Pepsico, have published risk analyses and monitoring metrics, and accordingly, they garnered scores between 45 and 58 in the KnowtheChain report.

Monster Beverage, in comparison, has stated that it does not conduct unannounced supplier compliance audits because of “assumed minimal risk” of slavery and human trafficking, with no detail of how this risk level was determined. Monster’s largely dismissive approach to human rights issues creates a material risk for company shareholders by owning a company that can be associated with slavery.

“Monster Beverage’s rationale for ignoring supply chain best practices are unacceptable,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow. “Although there is more to do, Monster’s peers have made significant progress in ensuring ethical supply chains. The degree of risk cannot be simply assumed when people are working as slaves in sugarcane fields.”

As You Sow’s shareholder proposal asks Monster Beverage to issue a report detailing the criteria and methodology for its determination of “minimal risk” of slavery and human trafficking in its sugarcane supply chain. In meetings with shareholders the company expressed that management and the board felt that slavery in its supply chain was not an issue of high enough concern to put any resources into documenting or disclosing this information.

As You Sow has given investors the opportunity to take action by encouraging their fund managers to vote on the proposal through its website.

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As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. See our resolutions here.