Coca-Cola shareholders vote down proposals that target pro-life states
May 2, 2023 | 02:31
Coca-Cola shareholders recently voted against a proposal to conduct an investigation into how state laws restricting abortion affect the company’s business results.
“Shareholders request that Coca-Cola’s board of directors issue a public report by December 31, 2023, omitting confidential information and at a reasonable cost, describing all known and potential risks or costs to the company caused by enacted or proposed government policies that severely limit reproductive rights, and detailing any strategies beyond litigation and legal compliance that the company may use to minimize or mitigate those risks, the proposal said.
The proposal was introduced by As You Saw, a non-profit organization that promotes ESG policies in companies.
87 percent of controlling shares voted against the measure.
Voting power is allocated per number of shares a person or entity owns.
Instead of each individual having one vote, as in US elections, an entity that owns a higher percentage of shares will have greater voting power than an entity with less.
The proposal from As You Saw cited research showing that women who do not have access to abortion are more likely to drop out of the workforce.
In a proxy statement, Coca-Cola said its “robust risk management processes” are sufficient to address these concerns.
The company claimed that further research into the matter is not necessary.
The activist group’s statement included a proposal that the board, at its discretion, could choose to halt operations in states where abortion restrictions are in place.
“In its sole discretion, the board’s analysis may include effects on hiring, retention and productivity of employees, and decisions regarding the closure or expansion of operations in states that propose or adopt restrictive laws and strategies, such as public policies of the company, related political contribution policies and human resources or educational strategies.”
Many companies have increasingly come under public scrutiny for their political biases in support of left-leaning social causes.
The most prominent example in the past year has been Disney’s feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed legislation ending the conglomerate’s special tax privileges after the company criticized him for signing legislation banning the teaching of LGBTQ theory to elementary school students.
Under the Trump administration, the Labor Department proposed a new rule that would require fiduciaries — entities with a legal responsibility to act in the best interests of clients — to always prioritize financial returns over issues like climate change.
“Private employer-sponsored pension plans are not vehicles for advancing social goals or policy goals that are not in the plan’s financial interest,” Eugene Scalia, Trump’s labor secretary, said at the time.
The Biden administration reversed this policy.
Furthermore, President Biden vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have ended enforcement of a Biden Labor Department rule that encouraged private pension managers to consider ESG in their investment decisions.