Social Policy in the Board Room
September 21, 1998
Many economists question the increasing tendency of some church-related groups to push their pet social policies by sponsoring shareholder resolutions. The resolutions -- which seldom, if ever, aim at sound economic or business goals -- can wind up costing all shareholders in terms of fewer profit opportunities and higher costs, thus lowering profits, observers point out.
- Based on annual reports studied by the Investor Responsibility Research Center, there were more than 600 social policy resolutions voted on in U.S. corporations from 1993 through 1997.
- Almost 70 percent were sponsored by churches and church-related groups.
- The resolutions promote a multitude of causes, mostly pet projects of the political left, including, but not limited to, stopping nuclear power, advancing racial quotas, setting ecological criteria for Third World loans, establishing pharmaceutical pricing restraints and pushing tobacco divestitures -- most, observers notes, beyond the apparent expertise of the activists.
- Church organizations sponsoring them are nearly as numerous as the causes themselves -- with the New York-based Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility being particularly active.
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