Investors to Vote on Human Rights Proposals at GM, Lear, and Tesla this Proxy Season
As part of the Shifting Gears initiative with the automotive industry, Investor Advocates for Social Justice (IASJ) Affiliates filed shareholder proposals on human rights topics with five automotive companies this proxy season. Three of these proposals at General Motors, Lear Corporation, and Tesla, Inc, will be going to a vote at annual shareholder meetings this spring. The initiative launched in 2018, with a focus on investor letters and dialogue. After engagements with 14 of the 23 companies on our focus list over the first two years of the campaign, after non-responsiveness at some companies and inadequate human rights risk management at others, investors determined shareholder proposals are the right next step to elevate investors’ human rights concerns to the attention of the board of directors and other shareholders. IASJ encourages all shareholders to support these resolutions at the upcoming AGMs. For more information about the human rights risks present in the automotive industry that motivated investors to engage with this sector and file these proposals this year, you can read an article written by IASJ staff in the 2020 Proxy Preview Report, titled Investors Want Auto Industry To Shift Gears On Human Rights. Companies in the automotive industry face risks of child labor, forced labor, hazardous working conditions, and other human rights and labor violations in their operations and supply chains, and investors are demanding stronger policies, practices, and disclosure to ensure these risks are being effectively managed.
Upcoming Shareholder Votes – Click the proposal title for the full resolution text.
Lear – Human Rights Impact Assessment
44.76% Shareholder Support
AGM Date: May 21st
Resolved Clause: Shareholders request that Lear Corporation (Lear) publish a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, with the results of a Human Rights Impact Assessment examining the actual and potential human rights impacts of the company’s high-risk business activities in its operations and value chain.
Lead Filer: Sisters of the Good Shepherd
The proponents successfully overcame a request for No Action from Lear at the SEC after the company petitioned to exclude the proposal from the company’s proxy statement based on the grounds that they had already substantially implemented the proposal.
General Motors – Report on Human Rights Policy Implementation
32.2% Shareholder Support
AGM Date: June 16th
Resolved Clause: Shareholders request the Board of Directors prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on GM’s systems to ensure effective implementation of its Human Rights Policy.
Lead Filers: Congregation of Holy Cross, Moreau Province & School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund; Co-Filers: Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY & Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell
Tesla – Human Rights Disclosure
24.8% overall support, 41.5% support by independent shareholders
AGM Date: September 22nd
Resolved Clause: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on Tesla’s processes for embedding respect for human rights within operations and through business relationships.
Lead Filer: Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Two additional proposals were filed with automotive companies this proxy season, however one was withdrawn for a commitment, while the other will be omitted after a successful request for No-Action at the SEC.
Nucor: Adopt a Human Rights Policy
Resolved Clause: Shareholders request the Board of Directors adopt a comprehensive Human Rights Policy stating the company’s commitment to respect human rights throughout its operations and value chain, and describing steps to identify, assess, prevent, mitigate, and, where appropriate, remedy adverse human rights impacts connected to the business.
Lead Filers: Congregation of Holy Cross, Moreau Province
Status: This proposal was withdrawn after Nucor agreed to adopt a policy aligned with the ask of the resolution. Nucor’s new policy is available on the company’s website here.
PPG Industries: Human Rights Disclosure
Resolved Clause: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on PPG’s processes for implementing human rights commitments within company-owned operations and through business relationships.
Lead Filer: Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace
Status: Lear challenged the proposal at the SEC on substantial implementation grounds and the commission ruled that the company had a basis to exclude the proposal.
This page will be updated over the next few months to reflect updates from the proxy season. For more information about IASJ’s shareholder proposals with the automotive companies or the Shifting Gears Campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.