Azzad increases investor activism, files first corporate shareholder resolution
Shareholder activism is an important part of Azzad’s ethical investing philosophy. In recent months, we have elevated our involvement in advocacy efforts by engaging corporations on matters of policy, in addition to our longstanding practice of proxy voting in accordance with our ethical guidelines.
As part of our move into more active shareholder advocacy, Azzad has recently signed onto several investor statements, campaigns organized by impact investors with the goal of effecting a change in corporate practice. One example is this letter delivered to food company Nestle and organized by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), an advocacy group of which Azzad is a member. Nestle is a major customer of Tampaco Foils, Ltd., in Bangladesh where, on September 10, a boiler explosion, fire, and building collapse killed 35 workers and injured scores more. As an owner of Nestle stock on behalf of our clients, we delivered the letter, which was co-signed by 66 institutions representing more than $2.3 trillion in assets, calling for Nestle to exercise its influence with Tampaco Foils and demand increased worker protections.
Earlier this year, Azzad also signed an investor statement addressed to the U.S. Department of Justice calling for an investigation into Exxon Mobil’s lobbying dollars. This action was taken following reports alleging that Exxon had funded organizations that promoted climate change denial and intentionally misled the public and its shareholders about the risks of climate change.
Following the Exxon investor statement, Azzad teamed up with the United Steelworkers union (USW) and ICCR to submit our company’s first shareholder resolution. Sent on November 8, the resolution is a request for Exxon Mobil to be more transparent in its lobbying expenditures and will be submitted and voted on during the company’s annual meeting next spring. Filing a resolution at the company’s annual meeting is an important act that requires Exxon shareholders to vote on the matter. The USW is the lead filer, which means that they will have a representative at Exxon’s annual meeting to officially move to put the resolution to a vote. As co-filers, Azzad is supporting USW in their efforts. It helps to have more than one filer to show solidarity from the impact investing community on an issue.
This is a major milestone in the history of Azzad. We look forward to filing many more in the hope of advancing the interests of our clients and shareholders. Congratulations to all parties involved.