Environmentalists are taking their activism into the corporate boardroom.
A coalition of environmental groups, led by Washington-based Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, have endorsed a slate of 74 environmentally friendly shareholder resolutions to be introduced at 60 companies during the 1999 proxy season.
"Environmental groups call on people and institutions all over the country to claim their power as shareholders -- through pension plans, mutual funds or endowments -- and voice their demand for healthy communities and corporate accountability," said Michelle Chan-Fishel, coordinator of Friends of the Earth's Green Investments program.
Major categories of environmental resolutions include endorsing environmental codes of conduct, global warming, environmental reporting and standards, toxic waste, nuclear issues and project-specific resolutions at resource extraction companies.
Other groups involved in the campaign include: Amazon Watch, Essential Action, Free Burma Coalition, Good Neighbor Project, Ozone Action and Project Underground.
Friends of the Earth has been involved in shareholder activism since its first shareholder resolution was filed at Exxon Corp., Irving, Texas, in the wake of the Valdez oil tanker disaster. This year, the group is cofiling resolutions at Exxon, Mobil Corp., Reynolds Metals Co., General Motors Corp. and MAXXAM.
"Corporations often ignore stakeholders, but they listen to shareholders," said Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth. "By aligning ourselves with investors . . . we can greatly increase our chances of being heard and heeded by belligerent companies."