COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT: Company Snippets, March 1999
SOCIAL TOPICS (Archive): COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT
Published, March 1999
United for a Fair Economy, a Boston-based nonprofit organization tackling issues of wage inequity, is working with us on a resolution asking R. R. Donnelley to conduct a pay equity study. Donnelley has a history of equal employment opportunity (EEO) lawsuits, including a recent settlement of Pay Equity Act litigation. After several years of attempted dialogue with Home Depot, we are for the second time co-leading a large coalition of concerned investors asking the company to divulge workplace diversity data. We are also supporting a repeat resolution asking American International Group to review and report on efforts to encourage more diverse representation on its Board of Directors. We withdrew a resolution at T. Rowe Price after the company provided us their workforce data on race and gender and took meaningful steps to make the data available to shareholders.
Harley Davidson has committed to meet with us to learn more about the CERES approach to environmental leadership. We are also asking Gillette and AMR Corporation, parent company of American Airlines, to reconsider adopting the CERES Principles — a step both companies have resisted previously. A resolution asking Hewlett Packard to produce a report on its international environmental standards for suppliers was withdrawn after the firm provided substantial information demonstrating its leadership in this area and agreed to an ongoing dialogue.
The environmental manager of BP Amoco in Alaska flew in to Boston to talk candidly with us about the company’s mistakes, successes and challenges. The gathering, attended by several local social investment professionals, reaffirmed our belief in BP’s leadership in being a transparent corporation – one that is willing to be examined and held accountable for its actions. Elsewhere in the industry we are supporting a resolution seeking a pledge from Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) to abandon any future plans to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Echoing statements by BP, ARCO representatives have told us that the company is not active in direct lobbying efforts to open ANWR but does support such drilling in the long term and would participate in a federal lease program.
In the wake of the NationsBank merger with BankAmerica, the latter having a long history of leadership on environmental, international human rights and diversity initiatives, we have inquired about the new BankAmerica’s commitment to continue its leadership in these areas. Walden Capital is supporting a resolution asking BankAmerica to adopt a policy to continue servicing those less developed countries that have instituted short-term capital controls in response to recent financial crises.
Jones Apparel and seventeen other retail and apparel companies have been charged by an international labor organization and three human rights groups with running “sweatshops” in the U.S. territory of Saipan. We have written to express our concern and to ask what actions or policy changes they plan to implement in response to the allegations.
Walden is working to form alliances with two socially active European shareholder groups. These partnerships will give us representation at a number of foreign company annual meetings where we plan to address issues including environmental and social lending standards, environmental reporting, and genetically modified food and crops.
We have mailed our annual survey seeking information on board and senior management composition and equal employment data. Due to the addition of Walden Capital, the survey included 630 domestic companies, more than tripling in size from previous years. This data aids us in supporting only those boards that have both women and minority representation when voting proxies.
The information contained herein has been prepared from sources and data we believe to be reliable, but we make no guarantee as to its adequacy, accuracy, timeliness or completeness. We cannot and do not guarantee the suitability or profitability of any particular investment. No information herein is intended as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as a sponsorship of any company, security, or fund. Neither Walden nor any of its contributors make any representations about the suitability of the information contained herein. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. The writings of authors do not necessarily represent the views of Walden Asset Management, its parent, or affiliated entities. There are certain risks involved with investing, including various risks depending on the type of investment vehicle being used.
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