Investors used their votes to urge leading utilities to disclose their plans to reduce the risks from their reliance on coal. At FirstEnergy, 11.4% of shareholders, representing over $1.5 billion, cast votes in support of our resolution asking the company for their plan to mitigate the mounting risks facing their coal fleet. At Duke Energy, now the nation’s largest utility, 12.5% of shareholders supported our resolution, an increase of 41% above last year. For the first time, Ameren investors had the opportunity to voice their concerns on this issue and supported us with a 10.5% vote—triple the bar set by the SEC to re-file the proposal.
This year at Kraft Foods, the largest U.S. food company, we brought the first-ever vote on producer responsibility for post-consumer packaging waste and received strong 25.6% support. We withdrew a resolution at Colgate-Palmolive after the company agreed to set public goals for recycling more post-consumer packaging. Investors representing over $1 billion in shares at Kroger (12.8% of shareholders) supported a similar resolution. Our producer responsibility proposal with Proctor & Gamble will be voted on at the company’s fall annual meeting.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
After we filed a resolution asking Safeway to be transparent with shareholders on its position on the use of the reproductive toxicant BPA in food products, the company agreed to make a public statement on their website. The grocery chain also agreed to work with us on other substantive portions of the resolution and we withdrew the proposal in exchange for these actions.
Electronic Waste (E-Waste)
We continued our efforts to keep toxic electronic waste out of landfills by pressing Target to adopt an in-store e-waste recycling program like the one we successfully encouraged Best Buy to develop. This second year proposal received support from investors holding over $2 billion of shares and we intend to keep the pressure on until Target ensures that e-waste is recycled responsibly in their stores.
Beverage Container Recycling
We withdrew our resolution with McDonald’s after they agreed to test a phase-out of Styrofoam cups at 2,000 stores. Nearly a third of investors at Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the third largest soft drink maker, supported our first resolution asking the company to set container recycling goals comparable to competitors Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s.
Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)
Investors controlling over $100 billion worth of stock in ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Ultra Petroleum cast their votes to urge the companies to come clean on how fracking is impacting their bottom lines. After the SEC overruled Exxon’s attempt to exclude our resolution, 29.5% of investors voted their support for transparency on this issue. At Chevron, 27.9% of investors asked the oil and gas giant to disclose the financial risks and harmful community impacts of fracking. At Ultra Petroleum, 35.4% of shareholders supported our resolution on this issue. This is the third consecutive year that fracking votes have averaged more than 30%.