2011 Annual Report

Thanks to the generous support of our donors and funders, As You Sow moved some of the world’s largest corporations on social and environmental issues in 2011. Here are highlights of our successes!



After a year-long study, we published the White Paper: Financial Risks of Investments in Coal and engaged key players in the investment community to examine their exposure to these risks from their coal holdings. Through shareholder proposals, we dialogued with major coal-fired utilities and pressed for reports assessing the specific financial risks from continued coal reliance. Shareholders at FirstEnergy, Duke Energy, and CMS Energy voted 31%, 8%, and 6% in favor our resolution. We also empowered students across the nation to challenge their university endowments to move their investments from coal and reinvest responsibly.


A record-breaking 28%, 41%, and 42% of ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Ultra Petroleum investors voted to address the risks that fracking poses to our water, soil, and air quality, demonstrating that mainstream shareholders want more accountability from their companies on this issue.

Environmental Health


After receiving our resolution, Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) stopped using BPA-laden cash register receipts, along with Walmart, Safeway, and Whole Foods. Over a quarter of Coca-Cola investors supported our request to disclose the risks of using BPA in their cans.


We published a framework to help food companies evaluate the risks of nanomaterials in their food products and packaging. It was reviewed by leading companies, scientific organizations, and investor groups, and was well-received by the food industry and safety advocates.


Consumer Packaging

We filed the first resolutions on extended producer responsibility (EPR) with General Mills and Procter & Gamble; both committed to explore EPR policies. McDonald’s responded to our resolution by launching a pilot program eliminating polystyrene cups in 2,000 restaurants. Our third scorecard on the beverage industry found growing support for EPR programs.

Electronic Waste

Thirty percent of Target shareholders agreed with our resolution asking for in-store electronic waste recycling similar to Best Buy’s successful program.

Human Rights

Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), a project of As You Sow, continued engaging the apparel and electronics industries on supply chain transparency.


Gap Inc., Adidas, the Gucci Group, and over 60 other international brands and retailers signed RSN’s pledge to stop using cotton produced with child labor in Uzbekistan. That pressure culminated at New York Fashion Week, causing the cancelation of a fashion show by Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the Uzbek President.


RSN continued leading a multi-stakeholder group of investors, nonprofits, and manufacturers including Ford and HP. The coalition submitted recommendations to the SEC to promote the effective implementation of the conflict mineral provision of the Dodd-Frank Act.