Trillium News

Financial Advisor Magazine: Shareholders Pressing Companies to Improve Chemical Management Policies

Financial Advisor Magazine recently published a story about shareholder concern regarding chemicals that ared used in the manufacturing and packaging of goods.

Jerilyn Klein Bier writes: “No one knows how many of the 84,000-plus chemicals used in the U.S. are lurking in the goods we purchase, or how safe they are. Federal law hasn’t required most of them to be tested or many to even be publicly identified. But the onus is quickly growing for producers and retailers of consumer products to find some answers…

Shareholders have also been pressing companies to improve their chemical management policies. Last October, Boston-based Trillium Asset Management LLC sent a letter to Newell Rubbermaid asking about brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in its Graco brand children’s car seats. It filed a shareholder proposal in November after failing to receive a response, and then withdrew that proposal following a good dialogue with the company in December and January.

‘Shareholder proposals have a way of getting noticed in the same way that shareholder letters seem to get lost,’ says Jonas Kron, vice president with Trillium and a member of its advocacy team.

Apple agreed to phase out some toxic chemicals in its products after Trillium filed (and then withdrew) a shareholder proposal in 2007 asking the company to consider the feasibility of eliminating “persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals”. Studying how toxic chemicals may be impacting health-care costs, lost work days and demand for government services is also important, says Kron. ‘These are externalities that may not come to roast one particular company,” he says, “but we can’t afford to have drags on our economy.’”

You can read the complete article here.