2005 Shareholder Advocacy Preview: A Poem(A)
‘Twas nearly late autumn, when all in the firm
Had gone home to their partners (or whatever the term)
The resolutions folded in envelopes with care
Awaiting Fed Ex for their trips through the air
To corporate attorneys, ill at ease in their beds,
With nightmares of high shareholder votes in their heads
And Steve on the West Coast, and I in the Hub
Over conference call analyzed companies, bub
Whom we’d written to, lobbied, lunched with and more
On multitude issues till our brains were so sore
And some got proposals – twenty-six this year
(Full text on our web site: Just click right here!*)
When up at the front desk arose such a clatter
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter
‘Twas the Fed Ex guy in full regalia
(I’ll never file a resolution at Fed Ex, I tell ya)
And what did I hallucinate there in the foyer:
Twenty-two CEOs and their eight tiny lawyers
More rapid than eagles their letters appeared
“These resolutions won’t go on our ballots!” they jeered
Now, Avon! Now Lilly! Now GM and Nucor!
On Yum Brands! On Southern! On Pfizer and Ford!
To the stockholder meeting, we’ll speak before all!
The CEO said what?! My heavens, what gall!
Dow Chemical sued by vets of the war
Big drug companies keeping their meds from the poor
General Electric won’t clean up its PCBs
From the floor of the Hudson, it would rather pay fees
To the government — $20 million are due
But that’s really nothing at all, when compared to
The mess that ChevronTexaco is in, being sued
For a billion in Ecuador for spilling sweet crude –
Oil, that is (black gold), for pumping
But somehow too there was plenty of dumping
And spilling and leaking on rainforest floors
In the billions of gallons deep into Earth’s pores
I saw it myself, the mess that they’d made
Back in March with a small investor brigade
Led by Amazon Watch, a non-profit group,
We saw illness, disease and black, tar-like goop.
And speaking of oil, we also did file,
Resolutions, asking in most reasonable styleFor some big oil companies to not play the Scrooge,By drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But political Scrooges,Many companies were not.They gave and they gave,Yes, they gave quite a lot.And we’ve asked just a few, to come fully clean,And detail their giving where it can be seen.
Steve Lippman serves as our Media Man,
On consolidation? “I am no fan.”
As the bandwidth grows larger and larger, I ask,
How can investors take up the task
Of ensuring that ‘fair and balanced’ reporting
Is truly free of ideology distorting?”
Oh Dominion! Oh Apache! Oh Anadarko and Ford!
Oh Exxon! And Mobil! And GM –we are bored
With excuses for ignoring global warming to date
We want reports from your Boards of Directors that state
How you’ll reduce your emissions and invest in renewables
For Pete’s sake, BP and Shell found it doable!
Forgive us the companies we didn’t mention
Space is so tight — and henceforth the tension
So go to our web site and the table below
& Happy Holidays to all, friend, family and foe!
*Real soon, we promise.
Whole Foods Market
Label private-label products regarding genetically engineered ingredients
Report on expenditures relating to consequences of PCB exposures
Disclose information on breast cancer fundraising and grantmaking
Report on company response to rising pressures to phase out products that contribute persistent, bioaccumulative toxins to the environment
Political ContributionsGeneral Electric, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Southern
Disclose amounts, rationale and governance procedures
Climate ChangeAnadarko Petroleum, Dominion Resources, Apache, Ford, ExxonMobil, GM
Report on greenhouse gas reductions
Equal EmploymentExxonMobil, Nucor, Reliant Resources
Adopt and implement a sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy
Home Depot, Wal-Mart
Publicly disclose workforce demographic data
Report on new initiatives to address environmental contamination in Ecuador
Report on sustainability initiatives
Report on potential environmental damage from drilling for oil and gas in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Report on measures being taken to contain price increases