ENVIRONMENT: November 1999
SOCIAL TOPICS (Archive): ENVIRONMENT
Published, November 1999
AMR Corporation, parent of American Airlines, has ramped up its environmental commitment by agreeing to endorse the CERES Principles. For two years Walden has spearheaded the effort to bring AMR into the CERES forum, the first airline to do so. The multi-year timeframe attests to the importance of investor continuity toward achieving long-lasting social objectives.
In mid-October, Walden organized a meeting of our Boston-based social investment colleagues with Coca-Cola regarding its environmental performance, which has been criticized publicly this year by grassroots recycling advocates. Although the meeting provided some insight on Coca-Cola’s environmental activities, the company failed to address adequately our key concerns. We plan to continue dialogue on this issue.
While in Germany and Switzerland in July, Walden’s Lauren Compere met with environmental officials and credit managers at Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and UBS to discuss how they integrate environmental and social criteria into their lending and project financing. This expands upon the dialogue held this past proxy season with ABN-Amro and HypoVereinsbank on the issue.
In late August, Home Depot announced that by 2003 it would stop selling products made from wood cut in “endangered areas.” The company had faced pressure from the Rainforest Action Network and others to stop selling old growth wood products.
BJ’s Wholesale has donated rooftop space at several northeastern stores to a nonprofit that installs solar panels and sells “green” energy to retailers serving “green electricity” consumers. The rooftop installations in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are the largest solar arrays in those states.
This Fall, Honda will begin selling the first gas-electric hybrid vehicle mass-marketed in the United States. The 80-mpg Insight will be the world’s most fuel-efficient gas-powered car. Priced under $20,000, the two-door coupe will also meet California’s tough ultra-low emission vehicle standards. Honda also plans to introduce a fuel-cell powered vehicle in the U.S. and Japan by 2003, again edging out rivals.
By year-end 2000 BP Amoco plans to introduce lower sulfur gasoline in 40 cities around the world. The sulfur levels - 30 parts per million - meet proposed new U.S. standards several years early. During fuel combustion, sulfur forms pollutants that contribute to acid rain and other environmental concerns. BP says its new fuel will be sold at no increase in price to consumers.
Earlier this year, McDonald’s extended its equal employment opportunity policy to cover employees’ sexual orientation.
In July, Hewlett-Packard tapped Lucent executive Carleton Fiorina to be its president and chief executive officer. She will be the first woman to run one of the twenty largest publicly traded firms in the U.S.
In September, ABC’s 20/20 television newsmagazine profiled Cisco Systems’ CEO John Chambers as a great boss. 20/20 noted that Cisco has broad employee stock ownership. Chambers stated that 40 percent of stock options go to staff, not management, and that 2,000 of Cisco’s 17,000 employees are already millionaires.
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