In 2004, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (CSRI)
presented several resolutions to business corporations on social issues. We made
these filings together with other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).
We again co-filed a resolution with ExxonMobil asking them to include
non-discrimination based on sexual orientation in their written equal employment
policy. Exxon is one of the few among Fortune 100 companies that has yet to make
We also co-filed with both ChevronTexaco and Glaxo Smith Kline on the issue
of HIV/AIDS in Africa, requesting that they
analyze the economic effects on their business of the pandemic caused by
HIV-AIDS/TB and Malaria. A recent World Bank report warned, "a complete economic
collapse will occur" unless there is a response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in
southern Africa. Even "a delay in responding to
the outbreak of the epidemic, however, can lead to collapse." ChevronTexaco
operates in 50 African countries and employs 15,000 people in Africa.
The UUA has an ongoing partnership with the New York City Comptroller's
Office (NYCERS). We have recruited presenters from the ranks of our local Unitarian Universalist (UU)
congregations to attend annual meetings and present resolutions on several
social issues. For example, the Employees Retirement System filed a shareowner
resolution asking 11 companies among Fortune's 500 largest businesses throughout
the country to explicitly bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. Full story >
A member of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, Portia
Hamilton-Sperr, representing the UUA and the New York
City pension systems, presented the fund's resolution at the annual
meeting of the Walt Disney Company in Philadelphia in March. This resolution
concerned the implementation of Disney's human rights labor standards in
China. A leading Chinese human rights
group, Christian Industrial Committee based in Hong Kong, found violations of
Disney's corporate code of conduct at the toy factories of their suppliers in
south China. The resolution asked for better enforcement of Disney's stated
human rights standards and a report back to shareholders in the future, on their
implementation. While the resolution had not been expected to pass at this
annual meeting, it did receive a larger than anticipated percentage of votes
from shareholders as compared to previous years.
The CSRI recruited several other UUs from around the country to speak in
favor of resolutions on other socially responsible issues. The sexual
orientation issue included ExxonMobil (Susan Gore of the First Unitarian Church
in Dallas) and ALL TEL, the Arkansas telephone company (Andy Kessel from the UU
Church in Little Rock).
Susan Gore also presented a resolution to Home Depot requesting its adoption
of global human rights standards based on the International Labor Organization's
principles. This issue was also presented by UUs to other companies including
Kinder Morgan Company (the Rev. Mark Edmiston-Lange of the Emerson Unitarian Church in Houston) who
also presented to Crown Castle International on the issue of equal employment in
Ireland based on the MacBride Principles. The
Crane Company also was asked by David Bue, a member of the UU Church in
CT, to adopt these MacBride Principles.
In April, a member of the First Unitarian Church in Chicago, Pat Lucas, attended the
official annual meeting of PepsiAmericas and presented a proposal dealing with
the issue of recycling their soft-drink bottles.
The resolution that Tom Clayton and Shellie Mason of the UU Church of
Greensboro, NC, presented requested the VF Company to implement a code of conduct
for its international suppliers, as well as its own international production
facilities, and further seeks a commitment to independent monitoring of
compliance with these standards. At t he annual meeting of Men's Wearhouse, held
at the end of June, the Rev. Tom Capo of the Spindletop Unitarian Church in Beaumont, TX,
proposed the adoption of a similar resolution.
The UUA's agreement with NYCERS, the pension funds for NYC's employees, has
allowed the filing of many more resolutions because we are able to find
socially-active UUs to attend local meetings throughout the country to make
The CSRI also initiated a letter writing campaign to more than 200 publicly
held companies throughout the country, asking them to favorably consider
adopting the Equality Principles promulgated by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) community. These
include three key principles: written nondiscrimination policies that include
‘sexual orientation'; inclusion in these policies of ‘gender identity or
expression'; and the provision of employee benefits for domestic partners. We
will evaluate the responses we get from these letters over the summer, and
decide which companies should receive more formal requests next year to improve
their corporate policies. Resolutions are being drafted for this purpose.
For more information contact
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Last updated on Wednesday, December 12, 2012.
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