Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Socially Responsible Investing Proxy Power

It might not be enough to just invest in a socially responsible portfolio, In an article by GreenBiz.com, a new report is reviewed that highlights a rising number of shareholder resolutions that focus on improving various companies’ social and environmental performance.

“Nearly 400 environmental and social shareholder resolutions were filed in the latest proxy season for issues ranging from labor and human rights to supply chain impacts and recycling, according to Proxy Preview 2011. The seventh annual report was published by As You Sow, the Sustainable Investments Institute and Proxy Impact.

“I think the critical difference proxy voting makes is to signal to companies that these issues are important to significant institutional investors,” said Leslie Lowe, an attorney and senior program strategist to As You Sow.”

The phenomenon of shareholders getting involved in this way has seen a steady growth in momentum as more conventional investors have begun to embrace Socially Responsible Investing with a growth of 55% of proxy filing in the last 10 years.

Examples of  environmental resolutions include those related to natural resource management and toxics. Companies such as Bisphenol, Yum Brands, and Dentsply International, IBM, Pepsi, and Target have been filed and are pending. according to the report.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/

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