Azzad commends Chevron’s work on Myanmar
Activist investors withdraw human rights shareholder resolution following ‘constructive dialogue’
Falls Church, Virginia, April 11, 2019 — A coalition of socially responsible investors led by Azzad Asset Management announced today that it has withdrawn a shareholder resolution filed with Chevron Corporation. The proposal pushed the energy giant to evaluate its business with governments engaged in conflict areas.
This announcement follows a years-long dialogue between concerned stakeholders and the oil and gas company, which has operations globally, including in regions experiencing internal strife.
The resolution, which was filed by Azzad for a third time last year, asks Chevron to evaluate a policy of cutting ties with governments engaged in genocide or crimes against humanity. It cites specifically the nation of Myanmar (Burma), whose military stands accused of committing atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic minority.
Preferring instead a policy of engagement with local government and civil society, Chevron responded to shareholders with a set of initiatives and specific actions the company has undertaken or planned to undertake aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis. Among other things, these include engaging with political leaders on U.S.-Myanmar policy, training representatives of private security companies on what Chevron expects of them by way of a commitment to respecting human rights, engaging with government officials on what Chevron does to respect human rights and how government can encourage foreign direct investment by, among other things, protecting human rights, and undertaking social investment reviews in Rakhine State.
See: Chevron, investor reach deal on Myanmar shareholder resolution (Reuters) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chevron-myanmar-exclusive/exclusive-chevron-investor-reach-deal-on-myanmar-shareholder-resolution-idUSKCN1RN19B
These steps, in addition to a pledge to help convene a multi-stakeholder working group of companies, investors, and non-governmental organizations to develop best practices for firms operating in countries at risk of crimes against humanity, were deemed sufficient by shareholders to justify a withdrawal of the resolution.
In a statement, Azzad said:
“We are pleased with the positive outcome of our dialogue with Chevron. By helping to foster a business environment that supports human rights, the company has helped to raise the bar for corporate social responsibility. We appreciate Chevron’s perspective on the issue of investment in Myanmar and are excited about the potential for the firm to make a positive impact in the country. We applaud the company’s willingness to engage with its shareholders in a constructive dialogue and believe that Chevron’s actions will further strengthen our investment in the company.”
Chevron’s Corporate Secretary Mary Francis said, “Chevron appreciates Azzad’s constructive engagement and commends them for recognizing our actions related to human rights.”
As lead filer of the resolution, Azzad was authorized to withdraw the resolution on behalf of its co-filers: Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore; Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica; Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama; Dana Investment Advisors; Mercy Investment Services, Inc.; and Sisters of the Holy Cross. The Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk co-filed the original resolution with Azzad in 2016.
Chevron’s 2019 annual general meeting is scheduled for May 29th.
Azzad Asset Management is a faith-based investment firm in Falls Church, Va. Azzad is committed to providing investment services designed to help people enjoy optimum performance without compromising their values. The firm operates with the belief that companies in ethical lines of business offer relatively less business risk and are in a better position to thrive in the long term.
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