In what may be a first of its kind, a coalition of socially responsible investors is mounting an aggressive shareholder resolution campaign to change the environmental policies of two companies.
Pacific Telesis Group, San Francisco, and Union Camp Corp., Wayne, N.J., are being targeted in same campaign. The coalition behind the campaign is led by Progressive Asset Management, an Oakland, Calif., socially responsible brokerage firm. Progressive Asset hired the New York proxy solicitation firm Garland Associates Inc. to help contact investors holding more than 5,000 shares of each stock.
PacTel is being asked to stop making telephone books with timber culled from British Columbia's old rain forest, and Union Camp is being asked to stop using chlorine in its paper production.
PacTel did not fight the coalition's attempt to offer the resolution, but Union Camp's attempts were overruled by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Rarely have social resolutions been followed by professional effort to solicit institutional investors," said Conrad MacKerron, director of social research at Progressive Asset Management. Mr. MacKerron noted that the coalition will try to persuade the large investors that the social resolutions "could enhance the long-term value of the company, and that some of these resolutions should stand on social and economic grounds."
Other members of the coalition include the RainForest Action Network and the Sisters of Mercy of the Regional Community of Detroit.