As You Sow 2013 Issues

IMAGE-2012Q4News-handsAs You Sow is preparing for the 2013 proxy season by filing shareholder resolutions on issues ranging from producer responsibility to coal, fracking, and GMOs.

To kick off the season, we plan to release our annual Proxy Preview and an updated edition of Unlocking the Power of the Proxy, our guidebook for investors, foundations, and endowments who want their shares to support their social and environmental values.

Our Energy Program will continue to urge companies using coal and hydraulic fracturing to transition to safer, cleaner energy production.

Following record drought and extreme heat conditions that gripped the Midwest this summer, our resolutions with Ameren and FirstEnergy, two of the largest Midwest coal-fired utilities, will address the link between water and energy. Our resolutions request that these utilities adopt quantitative goals to reduce water use and heat-related impacts on receiving waterways in order to ensure the viability of energy operations in the face of increasing water risk.

Oil and gas giants ExxonMobil and Chevron will face a proposal for quantitative risk management reporting on the companies’ hydraulic fracturing activities. The resolution will ask for the reporting of the results of all company procedures and practices, above and beyond regulatory requirements, to minimize the adverse environmental and community impacts from the company’s shale energy operations.

The Waste Program will press companies to support producer responsibility, or “Make It, Take It,” legislation for packaging.

Following last year’s successful resolutions on this issue, we will continue dialogues with companies including Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Kroger, Safeway, and Kraft Foods. We also plan continue a focus on in-store packaging recycling at quick serve outlets including Green Mountain Coffee, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Yum! Brands.

Our dialogues on e-waste recycling will continue with Costco, Target, and Walmart, and we are asking Amazon, the second largest online retailer, to develop electronic waste recycling policies.

The Environmental Health Program will file a new resolution with Abbott Laboratories, asking the company to remove genetically modified (GMO) ingredients from its infant formula until they are proven safe.

We are also exploring the possibility of filing a resolution on the use of nanomaterials in food products. This resolution would request that companies adopt policies addressing its use of nanomaterials in food and food packaging, including that the company not use nanomaterials until long term, peer reviewed studies have proven nanomaterials safe in food uses.

We look forward to continue working with the growing community of active investors, engaged advisors, and forward-looking companies this proxy season.