Dunkin’ Brands Group

Proxy Season Update: Dunkin' Brands

2014 Annual Meeting: 10:00 AM EST, Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Boston Marriott Quincy, 1000 Marriott Drive, Quincy, Massachusetts 02169

Dunkin’ has one pending ESG shareholder proposal in 2014.

  • ENVIRONMENT: Nanomaterials in Food
    • As You Sow has filed a new proposal Dunkin’ Brands, asking for

      …a report on Dunkin’s policies regarding public health concerns of nanomaterials in the company’s products or packaging. This report should identify products or packaging that currently contains nanomaterials, and discuss any actions, aside from regulatory compliance, management is taking to reduce or eliminate risk associated with human health and environmental impacts, such as eliminating, or disclosing, the use of nanomaterials until they are proven safe through long-term testing.

      The resolution acknowledges that while nanomaterials “create opportunities for innovation…the scientific community has raised serious questions” about their safety. Within the food industry, the resolution says, nanomaterials can give stronger flavorings and colorings, but “may also result in greater toxicity for human health and the environment” since the tiny particles can more easily “enter cells, tissues, and organs where they may interfere with normal cellular function and cause damage and cell death.”

      Given a variety of studies about potential harms, As You Sow says that companies could face “significant liability and reputational risk” by using nanomaterials in consumer products; it quotes the insurance firm Swiss Re about “unforeseeable risks.”

      As You Sow concludes, “We are concerned about liability arising from use of nanotechnology in food products, particularly foods such as donuts which are ingested by children, whose developing bodies are more vulnerable.” It says titanium-dioxide nanomaterials are probably being used in the company’s products “without adequate testing to ensure safety, and without notice or warning of their presence or potential hazard.” Further, it asserts that the company should avoid such use “until and unless” the materials “have been subject to robust evaluation and demonstrated to be safe for human health and the environment.” Finally, it says all products that do contain nanomaterials should be clearly labeled.

Download Proxy Preview 2014 to find more environmental toxin shareholder resolutions.