Dell, Intel and Motorola Solutions shareholders will face proxy proposals from the New York City Retirement Systems, calling for the companies to encourage their suppliers to report annually their compliance with workplace and human rights standards.
“The proposal will be subject to a shareholder vote at the annual meetings of Dell, Intel, and Motorola this spring if those companies do not agree to adopt the request,” according to a statement from John C. Liu, city comptroller who oversees the combined $130.7 billion in pension assets. “The comptroller's office expects to file the proposal at additional companies in the coming months.”
“Intel supports transparency in the supply chain,” Christine Dotts, company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “We had a positive meeting with the filers, and we reached a mutually agreeable resolution to their request” that the company's board of directors supports. “The specific details of that agreement will be forthcoming once we have time to inform our supply chain.”
“We are aware of the proposal, and we do already ask suppliers to publish sustainability reports and offer” assistance to them on best practices, Dell spokesman David Frink said. “As Dell policy, we expect our worldwide suppliers to follow the same high standards for workplace safety and rights as we do at our own facilities, and we conduct periodic audits (of compliance) and take corrective actions (as necessary) and work closely with them.”
Nick Sweers, vice president, global communications, Motorola Solutions, said he was unable to respond by press time.
Mr. Liu withdrew similar proposals he filed on behalf of the New York City funds at Apple, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard after reaching agreement with the companies in the fall about the reporting, according to the statement.
Microsoft will require annual sustainability reporting by its suppliers, a step the company took “in response to a shareholder proposal” from the New York funds, according to a company statement in October. A spokesman at Microsoft wouldn't comment.
At HP, Michael Thacker, spokesman, said in an e-mail that he couldn't confirm the agreement with the New York funds but added, “Respect for human rights is so directly related to integrity and performance that they are inextricably linked. Respecting human rights is a core value at HP and is embedded in the way we do business. Investing in ethical practices while delivering financial results is a responsibility HP takes seriously.”
Apple in a report issued in January said, “We are encouraging our suppliers to be transparent and disclose their environmental performance to the public. In 2012, we will require suppliers representing more than 90 percent of Apple's final assembly capacity to index their sustainability reports to the Global Reporting Initiative," an international standards organization. The report doesn’t reference the New York City funds’ proposal.
Steve Dowling, Apple spokesman, couldn’t be reached for comment.
As of Monday, the five pension funds — New York City Employees' Retirement System, Teachers' Retirement System, Police Pension Fund, Fire Department Pension Fund and the Board of Education Retirement System — held a total of about 46 million shares at the six companies, valued at a combined $2.2 billion.
The plans held 2.3 million shares of Apple valued at $1 billion; 5 million shares of Dell, $88 million; 5 million shares of HP, $144 million; 13.8 million shares of Intel, $371 million; 19.2 million shares of Microsoft, $582 million; and 722,210 shares of Motorola Solutions, $33 million.