Board Committee on Sustainability Proposed For Starbucks and Google

November 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Posted in Shareholder Advocacy | Leave a comment

Napa, California-based Harrington Investments, Inc. (HII), has introduced binding bylaw amendments at Starbucks (SBUX) and Google (GOOG), empowering and encouraging the boards of directors to create a standing committee to set company policy on environmental sustainability.

In March of this year, HII was successful in reaching an agreement with Intel Corporation (INTC) to amend the company’s Charter of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee to include “corporate responsibility and sustainability performance” into the committee’s overall policy responsibility.  Intel also provided HII with an outside legal opinion stating that under Delaware law, Intel directors have a fiduciary duty to address such issues.

In October, HII was successful in reaching a similar agreement with genetically modified seed producer Monsanto (MON).  Monsanto also agreed to amend the company’s committee charter to specifically delegate sustainability policy issues to the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Committee and provided HII with an internal legal opinion that under Delaware law, the company’s directors had a fiduciary duty to comply with charter sustainability requirements.

An identical amendment has been proposed at Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) and will be voted on at the November 16 Annual Shareholder’s Meeting at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington.  John Harrington, President/CEO of Harrington Investments, Inc., will present the resolution.

“Sustainability is not only a corporate director’s fiduciary duty, but it should be inserted as policy into the DNA of every corporation’s bylaws, articles of incorporation, or the company’s committee charters,” said John Harrington.  “We hope that our success at Intel and Monsanto will compel Starbucks and Google to incorporate sustainability policies into their bylaws.”

Harrington Investments, Inc. is a 28 year-old Napa, California-based socially responsible investment advisory firm that manages assets of individual and institutional investors requiring social and environmental as well as financial portfolio performance.  Harrington utilizes comprehensive social and environmental screens, commits clients’ assets to community investing and engages in shareholder advocacy.  HII recently introduced shareholder resolutions on U.S. economic security, corporate governance, CEO compensation and advancing human rights and sustainability as part of corporate officers’ fiduciary duties.

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