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Ceres: Shareholder Resolutions Spur U.S. Companies to Act on Sustainability During 2012 Proxy Season

Ceres, a U.S.-based nonprofit co-founded by Trillium Asset Management, which advocates for corporate sustainability leadership, recently released its wrap-up of the 2012 Proxy season.

The July 10, 2012 press release states, in part:

“During the 2012 proxy voting season, investors successfully used shareholder resolutions to spur action on corporate sustainability challenges such as climate change, hydraulic fracturing and supply chain and water availability risks. Of the nearly 110 resolutions tracked by Ceres in 2012, 44 proposals resulted in U.S. companies making commitments to tackle environmental and social risks in their operations and supply chains.”

“…In 2012, investors continued to focus attention on an important—and surprising— source of greenhouse gas emission impacts: palm oil. Palm oil is used in approximately 50 percent of supermarket products, and U.S. imports have increased by more than 550 percent since 2002. One of the key drivers for this increase is the campaign to replace trans-fat oils with healthier palm oil.

Though palm oil itself is not a direct source of emissions, oil palms are often cultivated on large-scale plantations created by clear-cutting and burning carbon-storing rainforest and peat lands, which results in significant emissions of greenhouse gases and endangers rare species such as orangutans.

Through shareholder action, Calvert Investments and the New York State Comptroller’s Office successfully negotiated commitments with Colgate and Smucker’s, respectively, to source 100 percent certified sustainable palm oil for their products. In addition, 37 percent of shareholders of Yum! Brands – the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut – supported a shareholder resolution filed by Trillium Asset Management requesting that the company source 100 percent certified sustainable palm oil.”

The full press release can be viewed here.


The press release, which has been reprinted in part here, was published by Ceres, which is solely responsible for its content. For more information visit