Shareholder Activism Update

Rejected by Apple and SEC!

Months ago, we submitted a proposal to Apple Inc. and have been speaking with their lead attorney. Our proposal was asking them to have some public disclosure on how they handle climate control at their 400 retail locations throughout the world. More specifically, it was asking about their policy when it comes to keeping their doors closed while air-conditioning is in use—a topic that Sustainvester Dale Wannen found a “pet peeve” due to wasted energy just to entice new customers. Well, the SEC sided with Apple on this argument stating this was already “substantially implemented”. Apple does in fact have an internal document for employees, but I was asking for a public document that all shareholders could see. We tried. Perhaps next time one walks passed that cold air coming out of a retail store, please keep shareholder advocacy in mind and think about filing your very own proposal.

On top of this rejected proposal, we have submitted proposals to Dunkin Brands (asking them to report on environmental effect of K-Cup pods) and insurance company Anthem Blue Cross (asking them to issue a sustainability report) this quarter as well. Considering 81% of S&P500 companies issue a sustainability report, Anthem is clearly a laggard and we felt the need to address the situation. Stay tuned!

81% of S&P 500
companies now issue
a sustainability
report. This compares
to just 20% in 2011.

Exxon Caving?
All it took was 62% of Exxon’s shareholders for them to listen. Under pressure from investors, prosecutors and global regulators, ExxonMobil Corp. agreed in December to strengthen its disclosure of the risks its core oil business faces from climate change and from government efforts to rein in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Specifically, Exxon dropped its opposition to a shareholder proposal filed Nov. 28 by New York’s state pension fund. The proposal asked Exxon to analyze how the Paris goal of keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels will affect its business and to assess the financial risks associated with that 2-degree scenario. In a one-paragraph filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the oil giant said it would stop resisting motions filed by dissident shareholders seeking this kind of risk disclosure. Now, because New York has withdrawn their shareholder proposal, we can only wait and see how Exxon responds with action.

About Dale Wannen