Program January, 2015 – Investing For Good
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Investing for Good: Changing Corporations through Shareholder Engagement
Speaker: Brian Reavey, Director for Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation – Marianist Province
Shareholders, even small investors, can successfully voice their social justice concerns to corporations, said Brian Reavey at the January 8 Women’s Voices meeting. The Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment (MCRI)-a group of organizations committed to social justice-has brought about changes by building relationships with companies it wants to influence, he explained. MCRI convenes dialogues with company representatives on a range of social, environmental, and governance issues.
Its approach is to focus on “reasonable” requests for actions and on how the company can benefit by making operational changes-for example, by saving money. Corporations have thanked MCRI for bringing problems to their attention and helping them find solutions, said Anna Sandidge, Justice Coordinator for Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet in St. Louis.
Individual investors can also make a difference. The speakers advised individuals to review their own investments and work with socially responsible investment managers that guide investors in supporting specific causes and avoiding objectionable companies.
Shareholders can also support resolutions by understanding issues and voting their proxies, according to Reavey and Sandidge. They noted that resolutions can bring about change even if they don’t pass on the first vote. If a resolution receives only 3 percent of votes, it can be brought back the following year.
MCRI is affiliated with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), an international organization that provides resources to its 300 member groups.
To learn more about responsible investing, shareholder advocacy, and the activities of MCRI and ICCR, see www.midwestcri.com and www.iccr.org. Another resource is Oxfam’s website, www.behindthebrands, which provides information on the performance of many food and beverage companies.