Between The Lines Issue #4: Pork wars at McDonald’s

Civex in the News:

  • After operating in stealth mode for over a year, we were proud to announce ourselves with our first press release. We were thrilled our story was quickly picked up by multiple sources including:
    • The Associated Press
    • Yahoo! Finance
    • TD Ameritrade
    • Barchart
    • Digital Journal
  • Additionally, Bakstack wrote a story capturing the excitement brewing within Civex.

Proxy News:

  • The SEC proposed a new rule that would require all publicly traded companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions as well as their exposure to climate change risks. The SEC aims to create a standardized reporting process for companies to prevent greenwashing in net zero claims by public companies.
  • Buckle up for change in governance of companies this year. According to Civex Advocate Partner, ICCR (the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility) their member firms have filed 436 shareholder resolutions in 2022, versus 244 at this time last year. Shareholder resolutions hit on many areas of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and ICCR sees Climate topics receiving the most interest.

Company worth watching

  • McDonalds. Carl Icahn, an activist billionaire investor, has nominated two candidates for McDonalds board because the company has not fully lived up to its commitment to source its pork more ethically. The company claims it would be “impossible” to fulfill Mr. Icahn’s request to prohibit pregnant pigs from small crates. This issue is expected to become a proxy fight at the Company’s AGM mid-May.

Learn from Civex Launched

What is a proxy vote?

Voting by proxy is when shareholders get a chance to tell the companies in which they are invested which proposals they are for and against, and what they think of board nominees. Read more…

What does it mean to be a shareholder?

A shareholder is someone who owns stock in a corporation giving you certain rights, such as attending annual shareholders’ meetings and casting votes on a wide range of topics concerning the company’s operations. Read more…

What is an AGM?

An AGM is a company’s Annual General Meeting in which shareholders learn of the company’s performance and strategy, as well as share concerns through proxy voting.

What is a proxy fight?

A proxy fight is when a group of shareholders are persuaded to join forces to win a corporate vote.

Vote worth watching

  • A shareholder of IBM plans to ask for a public report on the use of concealment clauses within IBM’s employee agreements in the context of harassment, discrimination, and other unlawful acts.
  • A recent bill was passed by Congress with bipartisan support on this topic led by Civex Advocate Partner Lift our Voices!
  • Check in April 26th to see if this proposal gains enough support to pass such as the one at Apple’s AGM!*

What happened at Apple’s 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM)?

Shareholders passed two monumental proposals, regardless of Apple’s recommendation to vote against them.

  • Majority favored the company conducting third-party audits regarding its civil rights, especially pertaining to the treatment of its employees.
  • Majority also expects Apple to assess the potential risks to the company associated with the use of concealment clauses in employment agreements in the context of harassment, discrimination, and other unlawful acts.

CEO Tim Cook’s compensation plan of roughly $100 million in a pay package was only supported by 64% of voters.

Other proposals that received noteworthy support:

  • Report on forced labor in the supply chain
  • Report on median racial & gender pay gaps
  • Revised transparency reports to include app removals by government requests

Big picture – It’s been 10 years since Apple investors passed a shareholder proposal!

The bottom line – You don’t have to be Elon Musk to make an impact in corporate governance. Get involved.

  • It’s not just advocacy organizations submitting proposals. Shareholders are now coming around to this idea. They want to ensure the companies they’re invested in reflect their values. We now see unions, state comptrollers, retirement fund managers, foundations, and even religious organizations using the power of their shares to tell corporations what’s important to them.