Mitsubishi Group might have a whale of a headache now that 15 socially responsible and environmentally friendly mutual funds -- including Calvert Group, Domini Social Investments, Everest Asset Management, Global Environment Fund, Parnassus and Walden Asset Management -- have decided not to buy any stock in the Japanese conglomerate because of its plans to build the world's largest salt factory at Laguna San Ignacio, Calif., on the shores of gray whale breeding grounds. The lagoon is one of only four in the world where gray whales come to mate and calve each year.
Constructing the salt plant, which is 51% owned by the Mexican government and 49% owned by Mitsubishi, would involve burrowing out 116 square miles -- an area twice the size of Washington -- and would suck out 6,000 gallons per second of water from the lagoon, threatening the gray whale and other endangered species of wildlife.
The funds, with $14 billion total under management, also plan to ask other investors to boycott the company. The mutual funds' plans come on the heels of an announcement by the San Francisco board of supervisors, which recently voted against doing any business with the company or its subsidiaries.