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Investor Coalition Successfully Urges Natural Gas Companies to Address Fracking Impacts June 17th, 2014
Under pressure from a coalition of investors for the fifth year in a row, major oil and gas companies including ExxonMobil, EQT, and Occidental Petroleum agreed to report on steps being taken to mitigate the adverse environmental and community impacts of their hydraulic fracturing operations.
The coalition of investors, which includes faith-based and socially responsible investors, as well as major public pension funds, filed shareholder proposals at Chevron, ExxonMobil, EQT, EOG, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Occidental Petroleum earlier this year, raising concerns about the risks associated with the impacts of company hydraulic fracturing operations. In response to corporate commitments, shareholders withdrew the proposals at ExxonMobil, EQT, Occidental Petroleum, and Pioneer Natural. Nearly a third of shareholders voted in favor of the proposals presented at EOG and Chevron’s annual meetings of shareholders.
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OIP joins Domini and other Shareholders in urging Google to pay its fair share of taxes May 11th, 2014
A group of Google shareholders, headed up by Domini Social Investments, may soon find out. The group has filed a proposal for consideration at the shareholder annual meeting asking the company to adopt a set of principles regarding taxes. The shareholders are recommending that the principles include consideration of any “misalignment between tax strategies and Google’s stated objectives and policies regarding social and environmental sustainability.”
The proposal comes after several widely publicized stories about Google’s aggressive tax planning which moves billions of dollars annually to offshore tax havens. In 2012 alone, Google dodged an estimated $2 billion in income taxes by shifting an estimated $9.5 billion to offshore tax havens.
Oblate Shareholder Activism Appreciated May 22nd, 2013
Oblate shareholder activism was recognized recently by Richard Eskow*, blogging on Huffington Post about the morality (or lack thereof) of our financial system. Here is an excerpt from his blog:
“Unethical or lawbreaking bankers are morally responsible for their actions. We didn’t break the law or throw people out of their homes. They did.
But even if we don’t share in the guilt, we share the responsibility. Did we do everything we could to stop them? They’re too powerful, people will say, and that’s true. But we have a responsibility to try, and to keep on trying, no matter what. We have a responsibility to engage in the great effort, which is a struggle for better regulation and a more humane economy. It’s also a struggle for hearts and minds – Dimon’s, the media’s, and our own. We should be demanding more – of the banks that serve us, of the media that entertain (if not inform) us, of the government agencies that work for us.
And we should be demanding more of us. These union pension funds, institutional investors at JPMorgan Chase, took action today to change the way business is done there. So did Father Seamus Finn of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, who introduced one of the resolutions on behalf of a family trust with JPM shares.
More of us need to join them in concerted, constructive economic activism. We can also work to reduce our dependence on the kinds of loans that lead to financial servitude, to the extent that’s possible in this harsh economic climate.”
*Richard Eskow is a writer, and host of ‘The Breakdown’, as well as a Senior Fellow at Campaign for America’s Future
Dupont, eBay Asked to Report on Lobbying Expenditures and Activities April 25th, 2013
ICCR shareholders, led by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, filed shareholder proposals at DuPont and eBay, asking that they report on their comprehensive lobbying activities, policies, and oversight mechanisms. The vote garnered 34% at Dupont and 24% at eBay, higher than usual figures.
In 2012, activist investors, coordinated by the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Walden Asset Management in Boston, fostered a campaign calling for disclosure on lobbying activities and policies. Resolutions were submitted at 40 companies, 20 of which came to a vote, averaging 24% shareholder support. This 2013 shareholder proposal is the first time that a shareholder resolution on lobbying activities and policies has been filed at DuPont. The proposal at eBay was apparently irregular, but Management allowed a vote on it.
The proposals were non-binding and requested of the company that it annually report on its lobbying-related activities, policies, and oversight mechanisms. The Dupont proposal called on the company to report on:
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Goldman Sachs Heeds Faith-based Investors April 16th, 2012
Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s most powerful financial firms, has been forced to pay attention to faith-based shareholder advocacy.
The Rev. Seamus Finn, OMI, Director of the OMI JPIC Office was quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article: “It’s been a difficult transition for …[Goldman to figure] out how to be a public company.” The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate owns 286,000 shares of Goldman, and agreed after discussions with the firm’s investor-relations chief Dane Holmes to withdraw its proposal focused on Goldman’s practices with clients and tax secrecy. Fr. Seamus explained, “They finally recognized that we’re not going away and they have to at least engage us.”
Father Finn has met in the past with John F.W. Rogers, Goldman’s board secretary, with Mr. Blankfein and Goldman’s president, Gary D. Cohn.