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Companies Respond To Climate Change Shareholder Resolutions

lumber.jpgOf the 20 shareholder resolutions filed with companies by Domini Social Investments for the 2008 proxy season, six concerned sustainable forestry and climate change. Four of the six companies targeted — Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, MeadWestvaco — reached agreements with Domini to address their impact on forests in exchange for withdrawal of the resolutions.

Home Depot and Lowe’s agreed to issue reports on their policies for sourcing wood from around the world. Best Buy agreed to work with Domini to develop a sustainable paper purchasing policy and MeadWestvaco agreed to assess the feasibility of phasing out the sale of paper made from wood fiber that is not certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Eyes are on International Paper and the printing company RR Donnelley, which have not responded to Domini’s concerns about unsustainable wood and paper purchasing practices. Shareholders will vote on forestry practices resolutions at their annual meetings on May 12 and May 28, 2008, respectively.

In 2007, Domini withdrew a shareholder proposal filed with the consumer products company Procter & Gamble when P&G committed to publish more complete information on its fiber procurement policy and practices.

U.S. investors have filed 54 global warming shareholder resolutions with U.S. companies, nearly doubling the number filed two years ago.

In March, International Paper took the top spot on Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the most admired companies in terms of social responsibility. UPS, Starbucks, Fortune Brands, Walt Disney, McDonald’s, Medco Health Solutions, Herman Miller, Weyerhaeuser, and Union Pacific rounded out the top 10.

Last year, Best Buy said that beginning this year it would build only eco-friendly stores, certified by the USGBC through LEED.

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