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E-M:/ Listen to Corporate Watchdog Radio on-line!
- Subject: E-M:/ Listen to Corporate Watchdog Radio on-line!
- From: Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 17:23:46 -0400
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Title: Listen to Corporate Watchdog Radio
The newest offering from Corporate Watchdog Radio -
This week's show is about the Investor Environmental Health
- a group of socially responsible investors that file shareholder
companies to adopt safer chemicals policies, including Dow
Below the link to Corporate Watchdog Radio find a press release
from the Investor Environmental Health Network
which represents 20 investment organizations with $22 billion in
assets under management. Yesterday they
released a 52-page "Fiduciary Guide to Toxic Chemical Risk." The
guide for institutional investors examines the financial dimensions of
toxic chemical risk, including how to quantify such risk, the
theory behind the danger posed by toxic chemicals to the wealth of
shareholders, and a comprehensive set of action steps that can be
taken by investors to translate the long-term threats and
opportunities associated with toxic chemical issues into prudent
In the current corporate annual meeting season, shareowners have
demands on companies to seek alternatives to toxic materials in
products. A shareholder resolution at Apple calls on the company to
accelerated timetable for ending the use of certain toxic materials.
has the Board of Directors, which includes Al Gore, unanimously
against the resolution? At DuPont, shareholders are continuing their
for the company to end the use of the so-called Teflon Chemical.
Watchdog Radio cohost Sanford Lewis, who is counsel to the
Environmental Health Network, discusses these and other fights with
Liroff, Director of the Network. Other companies discussed include
Bed, Bath & Beyond, SC Johnson, CVS, Dow Chemical, Wal-Mart,
Listen to the show on the web at
YOUR PORTFOLIO? MORE COMPANIES FACING SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTIONS ON
CHEMICAL RISKS IN PRODUCTS
COMPANIES FACING SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTIONS ON CHEMICAL RISKS IN PRODUCTS
GROW FROM JUST THREE IN '04-'05 TO 17 IN '06-'07
to Teflon ? From Cosmetics Safety to Pesticides ? Concerns Mount
About Chemical Risks; IEHN Unveils "Fiduciary Guide" as 2007 Proxy
Season Heats Up
D.C.//April 4, 2007//In the wake of costly litigation, product sales
bans, and reputational damage arising from asbestos, toxic materials
in cosmetics and toys, and Teflon-related chemicals, U.S. investors
are becoming increasingly wary of toxic chemical risks - in
products, in supply chains, and in their own portfolios. The number of
companies facing resolutions dealing with toxic product risks jumped
from three in 2004-2005 to 17 in 2006-2007, including 13 resolutions
introduced for the '07 proxy season at such leading U.S.
corporations as Apple, CVS, Dow, DuPont, Sears, and
the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN), which represents 20
investment organizations with $22 billion in assets under management,
today released the 52-page "Fiduciary Guide to Toxic Chemical Risk."
The guide for institutional investors examines the financial
dimensions of toxic chemical risk, including how to quantify such
risk, the theory behind the danger posed by toxic chemicals to the
wealth of shareholders, and a comprehensive set of action steps that
can be taken by investors to translate the long-term threats and
opportunities associated with toxic chemical issues into prudent
The report is authored by Jane Ambachtsheer, Mercer Investment
Consulting, Jonas Kron, Attorney at Law, Richard Liroff, Investor
Environmental Health Network, Tim Little, Rose Foundation for
Communities and the Environment, and Rachel Massey, Global Development
and Environment Institute.
The IEHN primer for institutional investors concludes: "Researchers
are increasingly detecting scores of these substances in human blood,
breast milk, and amniotic fluid, and scientists are increasingly
recognizing the particular vulnerability of fetuses and young children
to them. These and related findings are contributing to rising
awareness that the strategic choices businesses make about managing
toxic chemicals in their products can have major financial
consequences. As DuPont has been discovering with PFOA, a chemical
used to produce Teflon and stain and grease repellants, consumers and
industrial customers may abandon product lines over toxicity concerns.
At the same time, liability litigation and government enforcement
actions may further undermine bottom lines and
Report co-author and Rose Foundation Executive Director Tim Little
said: "Companies' strategic choices have serious implications for
government pension funds. Our report estimates the combined annual
costs of environmentally related childhood asthma, cancers and
neurobehavioral disorders in California, Connecticut and New York
States as on the order of $15 billion dollars. Government employee
pension funds, in particular, should take heed and take action - the
funds, state treasuries and fund members are shouldering the resulting
health care and special education costs."
Richard Liroff, Ph.D., executive director, IEHN, said: "Poor
corporate management of toxic hazards can increase risks for
investors. Regulatory controls are tightening around the globe, not
only in Europe but also in US states such as California, and in
developing markets such as Korea and China. The failure to address
safer materials is causing products to be locked out of markets. By
contrast, corporate efforts to minimize or avoid exposures, or to
offer safer alternatives, can benefit corporate bottom lines and
Craig Metrick, US lead for responsible investment at Mercer Investment
Consulting, said: "The good news for investors is that there are
constructive steps they can take immediately to mitigate the potential
risk posed by toxic chemicals in their portfolio. These steps we are
outlining include comprehensive directions that can help fiduciaries
understand the relationship between toxics and financial risk, and
guide their exploration of these issues with investment managers and
The 2006 proxy season saw a flurry of positive corporate steps
following the filing of shareholder resolutions focusing on toxic
chemical risks, including:
* Whole Foods Markets announced that it would remove baby bottles
and other products that contain certain toxics from its shelves as
part of a new corporate policy initiative to reduce customers'
exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.
* Wal-Mart announced a new "preferred substances policy" that
incorporates a precautionary, hazards-based approach to chemicals
management, initially focusing on persistent bioaccumulative toxics
* ConAgra agreed to analyze and report on alternatives to PFOA in
* Becton, Dickinson agreed to survey its suppliers regarding
brominated flame retardants in its medical devices.
* Johnson & Johnson agreed to initiate a stakeholder dialogue
with one of the cosmetics industry's harshest critics, the Campaign
for Safe Cosmetics.
The full IEHN report is available online at
_http://fiduciary.investorenvironmentalhealthnetwork. org_and at
Experts expect the concerns about toxic chemical risks to continue
apace in the 2007 proxy season, with many key votes scheduled over the
next few weeks:
* Apple. Shareholders are requesting a report on the feasibility of
adopting a policy to eliminate persistent bioaccumulative toxic
chemicals, including an expeditious timetable to end the use of all
brominated flame retardants and PVC plastics. Lead Filer: Trillium
Asset Management. Estimated voting date: April 30
* Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Shareholders are seeking a report
summarizing how products sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond might be
affected by safety concerns associated with PVC, PFOA, and cosmetics,
and options for management initiatives that can be taken in response
to these public policy challenges. Lead Filer: As You Sow Foundation.
Estimated voting date: June 29.
* CVS. Shareholders asked for a report on CVS policy on cosmetics
safety, including assessment of products that may be affected by new
public policies and growing consumer interest in safer cosmetics. Lead
Filer: Boston Common Asset Management. Outcome: Withdrawn following
company commitment to dialogue with investors on safer cosmetics
* Dow (asthma). Refiling of 2006 resolution that requests report
analyzing impact of Dow products on asthma and measures Dow is taking
to phase out or restrict such chemicals. Lead Filer: Trillium Asset
Management. Estimated voting date: May 10.
* DuPont (PFOA phase-out). Shareholders are asking the company to
issue a report evaluating the feasibility of an expeditious phase-out
of the use of PFOA and materials degrading to it, and the development
and adoption of safer substitutes. Lead Filer: Amalgamated Bank.
Estimated voting date: April 25.
* DuPont (PFOA expenditures). Shareholders are requesting a report
on funds expended by DuPont related to PFOA pollution, including,
e.g., attorney and lobbying fees and site remediation costs. Lead
Filer: United Steelworkers Union. Estimated voting date: April 25.
* DuPont (chemical security). Shareholders are requesting the
independent directors of DuPont to report on the implications of a
policy for reducing harm from catastrophic chemical releases by
reducing the use and storage of extremely hazardous substances and
taking other steps. Lead Filer: Green Century Capital Management.
Estimated voting date: April 25.
* Hasbro. Shareholders are asking for preparation of a
sustainability report. Resolution's "whereas" clauses refer to
PVC. Lead Filer: Camilla Madden Charitable Trust. Estimated voting
date: May 25.
* Mohawk Industries. Shareholders requested a report on the
feasibility of expeditious phase-out and substitution for PVC, PFOA,
and chemicals breaking down to PFOA. Lead Filer: United Methodist
Church General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. Outcome:
Resolution withdrawn when company shared its commitment to move away
from the use of PVC and materials containing or breaking down to PFOA
* Scotts Miracle-Gro. Shareholders requested a report on the
company's expenditures during 1993-2005 on efforts to oppose local
policies to limit lawn care product use. Lead filer: Boston Common
Asset Management. Outcome: 9.3 percent of vote. In its opposition
statement to the resolution, the company reported it had spent less
than $300,000 in fiscal year 2006 to oppose local pesticide
* Sears Holdings. Shareholders requested preparation of a
sustainability report. The filing letter to the company accompanying
the letter focused on PVC. Lead filer: Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America. Outcome: Resolution withdrawn based on consultations with
* ServiceMaster. Shareholders request a report on the feasibility of
discontinuing the use of synthetic pesticides at TruGreen Chemlawn,
instead substituting natural and non-toxic lawncare services. Lead
filer: Green Century Capital Management. Outcome: Estimated voting
date May 8. Note that ServiceMaster has announced its pending
acquisition by a private equity consortium led by Clayton, Dubilier,
and Rice, Inc.
The Investor Environmental Health Network (http://www.iehn.org) is a
collaboration of investment managers encouraging companies to adopt
"safer chemicals" policies for cosmetics and other products.
Members of the network are concerned that companies will be locked out
of markets and suffer financial and reputational damage, if they don't
systematically identify and eliminate hazardous chemicals in their
ABOUT THE REPORT AUTHORS
Jane Ambachtsheer is a principal of Mercer Investment Consulting. She
leads Mercer's global Responsible Investing business, and consults
to investors in North America, Europe, and Australasia.
Richard A. Liroff is the founder and director of the Investor
Environmental Health Network and for many years served as a senior
program manager at World Wildlife Fund working on toxic chemical
Tim Little is the executive director of The Rose Foundation for
Communities and the Environment and director of Rose's Environmental
Fiduciary Project. He is co-author of a series of papers examining
environmental risk and the competitive advantages of incorporating
environmental performance factors into business and portfolio
management analysis. The Rose Foundation is the lead filer of a
citizen petition to the Securities Exchange Commission seeking new
guidelines for environmental risk disclosure that has been endorsed by
institutional investors collectively representing over $3 trillion.
Visit www.rosefdn.org for details and downloads of previous
Jonas Kron is an attorney specializing in shareholder advocacy and
institutional investor fiduciary duties as they apply to
environmental, social and corporate governance issues.
Rachel Massey is a researcher at the Global Development and
Environment Institute at Tufts University, where she has helped to
build a program in Economics for Health and the Environment. Her
recent work has included a series of studies of the economic
implications of the proposed new European chemicals policy, REACH.
CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or