Shareholders’ calls for increased transparency at companies across several sectors gained further traction this shareholder advocacy season as Mercy Investment Services’ resolutions asking for third-party assessments earned majority votes – some resounding. These votes illustrate shareholder frustration with companies’ lack of disclosure and action around several important social and environmental issues, and seek an independent appraisal on a company’s progress.
- Sixty-eight percent of shareholders at Sturm Ruger supported a resolution asking for a third-party human rights impact assessment at the gun manufacturer.
- Chevron’s board of directors supported the resolution calling for a third-party assessment of its methane emissions. The resolution earned more than 97 percent support.
- More than 62 percent of shareholders called for a third-party civil rights equity audit assessing the impact of Altria’s policies, practices, products and services on Black, Indigenous and people of color and Latinx communities, including youth. The company manufactures smoke-free products such as vaping tools and smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco.
- More than 62 percent of Johnson & Johnson shareholders called for the pharmaceutical company to conduct a third-party racial equity audit in light of multiple lawsuits and evidence that the company has been aggressively marketing possibly carcinogenic products to women of color
- Fifty-one percent of ExxonMobil shareholders voted in favor of an audited report assessing the effects of applying the assumptions of the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 pathway.
Mercy Investment Services believes that third-party assessments such as these ensure those with the needed expertise conduct the assessments without pressure to conform to internal corporate interests. Additionally, they encourage transparency and help companies recognize their impact on people and communities. Mercy will continue to engage these companies on the progress of these assessments.