Shareholder Activists Hit Starbucks on Recycling

March 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Shareholder Advocacy | 1 Comment

By Dale Wannen

As I stood and watched the line of 12 in front of me at Starbucks the other day, I daydreamed about the load of cups Starbucks must go through every day.  A little googling turned up the fact that  it’s actually 3 billion paper cups and 1 billion plastic cups a year.  To put that in tangible terms, that’s 8,219,178 paper cups and 2,739,726 plastic cups a day.  Wait, 10 million cups a day?

While I wait for those of you who spewed hot lattes onto your laptops to clean up after yourselves, please be assured certain groups are doing something about this.  Starbucks annual shareholder meeting just ended Wednesday in Seattle.  This meeting was entertainment infused:  Sheryl Crow sang some of her hits and informed the crowd that she “drinks Starbucks coffee every morning” (something tells me we will be hearing more Sheryl at our local Starbucks). But that’s not all. There was shareholder activism to witness.  As You Sow Foundation , a shareholder advocacy organization  put forth a proposal using shareholder advocate John Harrington’s shares [Full Disclosure: he’s my boss], asking the board of directors to adopt a comprehensive recycling strategy for beverage containers.  Although those baristas can stir up a mean mocha,  Starbucks as a whole has a poor record when addressing recycling issues.

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SEC Climate Change Guidelines Lead to New Shareholder Resolutions

March 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Shareholder Advocacy | Leave a comment

By Dale Wannen

If recent talk about climate change hasn’t already rattled every CEO’s corporate cage, then yesterday’s news regarding shareholder resolutions should do the trick.  It was announced during a phone-based news conference today that investors filed a record 95 climate change resolutions against companies ranging from coal mining to big box retailers.  That’s a 40 percent increase over last year.

This is mostly due to the SEC’s recent guidance talk on climate change disclosure.  As the SEC starts to keep a closer eye on these behemoth companies and their long-term impact on the environment, investors are clawing at an opportunity to voice themselves and have the SEC standing co-pilot.  And these investors have big money in the game.  Jack Ehnes, CEO of CalSTRS, which manages $131 billion (yes, billion)  in assets says,  “We want our companies to closely look at the impact climate change legislation and regulation have on them, to realistically assess those risks, and to consider the indirect consequences of climate change-driven regulation and business trends on their activities.  The SEC’s interpretive guidance outlines exactly the kind of action we have been asking our portfolio companies to take with regards to the issues raised by climate change.”

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