By Greg Caplan, REC Midwest Student Organizer
On February 18th REC and the Sustainable Investing Institute presented a Proxy Season Forecast. As many annual meetings are approaching, it is a great time to discuss the various issues that have been raised to companies through the medium of the Shareholder Resolution. The Proxy Season Forecast was a rundown of all of the environmental and social issues that are included in shareholder resolutions to be voted on in 2010 annual meetings of shareholders. These issues were broken down into nine categories below, but it is interesting to note that if you combine sustainability reporting, climate change, and natural resources/toxics, environmental issues account for over 40% of social issues.
Some notable resolutions up for a vote:
· Hydraulic fracturing , which has 10 resolutions pending, is asking for corporations engaged in this mining technique to report on impacts, damage mitigation, risks, but the SEC challenges will be test of new risk approach. Hydraulic fracturing is a resource extraction method in which fluid is injected into fractures of rock in order to force resources such as oil and natural gas out. This increases the rate of extraction from reservoirs. Possible environmental issues associated with this process are contamination of the water supply and inducing seismic events.
· Mountain top removal financing is another new issue, with 2 proposals on the table, but it is also being challenged with the SEC because corporations are saying that it is an ordinary business challenge, and therefore cannot be voted on by the shareholders. Mountaintop removal is the process of blasting off the top of mountains with dynamite in order to expose resources, usually coal, in the interior of the mountain. Environmental issues associated with mountaintop removal are loss of biodiversity and contamination of the air and water surrounding the area.
· In Climate Change a very interesting new development is the trend toward asking corporations to adopt 6 BICEP principles . There are 9 of these resolutions pending. The BICEP principles call for corporations to cut emissions, set goals, pressure regulators, develop clean energy options, and adapt to and mitigate climate change.
If you would like to learn more about pending shareholder resolutions you should visit ProxyDemocracy.org! It is a great site and much easier to navigate than any other site I have seen on Proxy Voting and pending votes. Shareholder resolutions are most effective when they draw a lot of yes votes, so please consider supporting these resolutions. If you would like more information about how to get involved, please contact REC at .