Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


$49bn funds plan new offensive on SA8000

February 2001

The head of New York City's pension funds is to stage a shareholder resolution offensive this spring in an attempt to persuade 27 US companies to adopt and implement the SA8000 ethical trading standard.

Alan Hevesi, comptroller of the City of New York, will submit resolutions to the annual general meetings of the companies during this spring's 'proxy season' because he feels they have not responded adequately to a letter he sent out last year urging them to adopt SA8000.

Hevesi wrote to chief executives and chairmen at more than 50 companies asking them to press their boards 'to require that suppliers adopt and adhere to the standard'.

The head of the $49billion funds is not at present considering disinvestment from any of the 27 companies. However, he considers that shareholder resolutions urging more action are justified in the case of those companies that do not appear to be considering signing up to SA8000, or which lack alternative ethical strategies.

McDonald's, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, JC Penney and Home Depot are among companies facing resolutions on the subject at their annual general meetings.

Last year the funds decided to file shareholder resolutions against Nordica and Polo Ralph Lauren, but later withdrew them after further negotiations revealed that both companies had taken steps to adopt codes.

Those who adopt SA8000 agree to abide by rules on labour conditions and worker rights, and to work to ensure that suppliers also comply with those rules.


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