Submitted by: Calvert
Categories: Business Ethics
Posted: Feb 10, 2002 – 11:00 PM EST
Feb. 10 /CSRwire/ - Calvert Asset Management Company, the Advisor to Calvert mutual funds, the nation's largest family of socially screened mutual funds, has filed 25 shareholder resolutions this 2002 proxy voting season with 2 late season filings pending on a range of issues including global labor practices such as child and forced labor, bias against employees based on sexual orientation, recycling and environmental design in the computer industry, equal employment disclosure, board diversity, environmental compliance, ethical advertising, independence of the board, and indigenous peoples' rights.
"Shareholder advocacy gives us leverage to help companies that meet our minimum criteria further improve their records for corporate responsibility," notes Calvert's President and CEO Barbara J. Krumsiek. "By providing our investors with solid information about what the issues are and how companies are addressing them, we facilitate change that help reasonably good corporate citizens address their shortcomings and become better ones."
The highlights of this year's shareholder activism initiatives include:
-Global labor accountability: As a result of Calvert's resolution, management at Becton, Dickinson & Company (NYSE: BDX) and Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW) agreed to expand their global labor policy, per Calvert's recommendations, to include provisions against the use of forced and child labor and respect the rights of workers. Last year, a similar resolution with Black and Decker received a 10.5% vote of support. This year, Black and Decker has not yet responded to the resolution.
-Global apparel company working conditions: Calvert filed two separate resolutions asking worldwide clothing manufacturers Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) and Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS) to develop monitoring standards for their vendors and report back to shareholders on matters regarding labor and human rights conditions.
-Sexual orientation discrimination: Our resolutions filed with Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Cree (NYSE: CREE) and Alltel Corp. (NYSE: ATL) request the companies expand their diversity policies to include non-discrimination clauses based on an employee's sexual orientation. Deere management has since agreed to the terms of our resolution and formally adopted a policy of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation. Calvert will be taking the Alltel resolution to vote at the company's upcoming annual meeting.
-Computer industry recycling and environmental design: Our resolution filed with six major computer manufacturers requested these companies prepare a report on the feasibility of adopting a policy, implementing programs, and monitoring progress of producer responsibility for their products. Companies include Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP), Gateway, Inc. (NYSE: GTW), Apple Computer, Inc. (NYSE: AAPL), International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM ), Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ), and Dell Computer Corp. (NYSE: DELL).
-Greenhouse gas emissions: As a result of our resolution, AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) agreed to report on its total greenhouse gas emissions and conduct a feasibility study on reducing these emissions.
EEO disclosure: Resolutions filed by Calvert with PeopleSoft Inc. (NYSE: PSFT), Lowes Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) and Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP) were all withdrawn after successful dialogue on ways to implement and document plans to recruit, retain and promote women and minorities. A similar resolution against Dollar General (NYSE:DG), Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI) and McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. (NYSE: MHP) is still pending.
Indigenous peoples' rights: One shareholder resolution asked Tootsie Roll Industries (NYSE: TR) to stop using offensive images of American Indians in its packaging and advertising. Tootsie Roll has, to date, strongly resisted our efforts. Idacorp Corp. (NYSE: IDA) has agreed to let shareholders decide on the merits of our resolution urging the company to develop a policy on the rights of indigenous peoples, in light of the impact of the company's three-dam Hell's Canyon complex on the fishing and hunting rights of local tribes along the Snake River in Idaho.
"Through shareholder engagement, we work toward greater transparency and accountability on a wide range of social issues of importance to Calvert and its shareholders. We believe that this will naturally lead to greater corporate accountability and increased shareholder value," said Nikki Daruwala, Shareholder Advocacy Coordinator for Calvert.
Calvert is one of the largest mutual fund complexes in the Washington D.C. area with approximately $7.6 billion in assets under management. Best known for its family of socially responsible mutual funds, Calvert offers twenty-seven funds that allow individual and institutional investors to pursue a broad range of investment objectives within a single fund family. Calvert launched the Calvert Social Indexä, a benchmark for measuring the performance of large, U.S.-based socially responsible companies. Calvert also has an extensive lineup of tax-free and taxable fixed income investments.
For more complete information, including charges and expenses on Calvert mutual funds, call your financial advisor for a free prospectus or call Calvert at 800.368.2748. Read the prospectus carefully before you invest.
Calvert mutual funds are underwritten and distributed by Calvert Distributors, Inc., member NASD, as subsidiary of Calvert Group, Ltd. #3450 (3/01,3805)
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