ICCR Issues 2012 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide
Assessing Risk and Social Impacts of Lobbying, Foreclosures and Fracking are Key Issues this Season
NEW YORK, NY/// February 3, 2012///With increasing attention to risk assessment, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) today release their 2012 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide including all member-sponsored shareholder proposals for the upcoming proxy season.
The Guide features 160 resolutions filed at 115 companies by ICCR members for 2012. Resolutions address investor concerns around human rights and supply chain accountability, financial practices and risk, health care, food and water sustainability, environmental health and corporate governance.
Said Laura Berry, Executive Director of ICCR, “Because so many of our members come from faith communities, their work is framed within the context of social justice. On the surface, this year’s proposals address perennial investor concerns around environmental, social and governance risks to shareholder value, but the social dimension has become much more prominent. Increasingly these proposals are being deliberately written to remind companies that the consequences of corporate decision-making aren’t abstractions, they have human faces.”
ICCR members filed 10 resolutions on hydraulic fracturing this proxy season. Said Pat Zerega of Mercy Investments, “ICCR has been issuing resolutions on the environmental impacts of fracking for years and the very high support they receive at shareholder meetings reflect anxieties around safety. But this year nearly all the resolutions on fracking cite community impact which stems directly from our member’s experience in towns where fracking occurs.”
As would be expected during an election year, resolutions on lobbying and political spending showed a sharp spike, and accounted for nearly a third of all resolutions filed in 2012.
Sr. Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia said, “At issue are undisclosed corporate contributions to trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that are actively lobbying legislators and regulators to undercut environmental, financial and health care reforms.” She continued, “In some cases, we believe these lobbying activities run counter to the stated missions of our companies. If so, then at minimum company assets are being squandered. But what’s worse, we may be unintentionally supporting policy-making that is detrimental to society.”
Several of the resolutions filed with companies in the financial sector arise from the economic struggles still being experienced by so many Americans. Resolutions requesting greater transparency around banks’ participation in the repurchase markets, the reputational risks of excessive executive compensation, foreclosures and resolutions on corporate tax strategies illustrate a renewed focus on economic justice and intolerance for excessive risk-taking in the markets.
“The public outrage that became manifest in last summer’s ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstrations should be a wake-up call for the financial sector, Said Rev. Seamus Finn of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. “We are asking these institutions to remain mindful of the social purpose of capital markets, which is to serve the common good.”
Said Berry, “When companies ground their business plans with attention to social impacts, they demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of long term risk assessment and will inevitably improve their performance.
Director of communications, ICCR
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):
Currently celebrating its 41st year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.