As You Sow’s 2012 Proxy Season

Shareholders at Fortune 500 companies will vote on 10 As You Sow resolutions in 2012, which address issues ranging from the financial impacts of coal, to community impacts of fracking, to the environmental impact of post-consumer waste.

Coal-fired utilities Duke Energy, Ameren, and FirstEnergy all face our request for a report on their plans to reduce exposure to coal-related costs and risks, including environmental compliance costs, volatile commodity prices, and the increasing risks of new plant construction.

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Dr Pepper Snapple Group shareholders will urge the company to adopt a recycling strategy in line with competitors Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Our resolution with McDonald’s was withdrawn when the company agreed to a pilot phase-out of polystyrene coffee cups at 2,000 west-coast stores.

Target investors will again have the opportunity to support our request for in-store electronics recycling programs. The 2011 resolution garnered extraordinary 30.8% support, yet the company made no move to implement a take-back program.

In the end of May, energy giants ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Ultra Petroleum will hear shareholders’ concern about the financial risks they face from the negative impact fracking has on local communities.

After the SEC’s much publicized rejection of Exxon’s attempt to bar shareholders from voting on this issue and the record-breaking shareholder votes last year, these are important resolutions to watch.


We withdrew a resolution with Colgate-Palmolive for a commitment on post-consumer packaging waste goals.

Investors at Kraft, Kroger, and Procter & Gamble will vote on resolutions asking them to assess taking responsibility for recycling post-consumer packaging later in the season.

We negotiated a withdrawal of our first resolution with grocer Safeway after company management agreed to increase its transparency on bisphenol A (BPA).

Our request that Coca-Cola address the significant reputational risks of continued use of BPA in cans was omitted by the SEC. We will, however, start to pressure major banks to remove the chemical from their ATM receipt paper.


Overall, 2012 promises to be a year in which shareholders exert increased pressure on major corporations to increase their accountability and transparency on environmental issues.