Home Depot Faces Shareholder Wrath Over Energy Efficiency

by | May 27, 2009

lumberJust a day after Chevron bowed to shareholder demands to track its carbon footprint, Home Depot now faces a shareholder vote on its energy plan at its May 28 annual general meeting.

The $20 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds has filed a shareholder resolution asking Home Depot to assess its companywide energy use in its buildings, transportation, and supply chain; set energy use reduction targets; and report findings and progress to shareholders.

According to a press release, the resolution also is supported by advisory firm RiskMetrics Group (RMG) and other investors in the $7 trillion Investor Network on Climate Risk.

“Throughout the country—and the world—there is growing recognition of the need to use energy more efficiently. Home Depot remains unwilling to provide the information and transparency that we have requested–and without a plan, progress cannot be measured. It’s time for Home Depot to step up to the plate,” said Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier, in the release.

Home Depot faced a similar showdown in 2006 when shareholders asked the company to disclose its  energy efficiency policies, financial impacts of energy efficiency measures, targets for renewable energy usage, and goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Shareholders withdrew their resolution when the company agreed to improve its disclosure. However, Home Depot has not followed through to the satisfaction of the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. A similar agreement was reached in 2008, when Domini Social Investments pressured 20 companies, including Home Depot.

The trust fund lists Lowes and Wal-Mart as having better disclosure of GHG emissions and energy efficiency targets.

Among Home Depot’s sustainability marketing efforts, it offers consumers free in-store recycling of spent flourescent light bulbs.

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