Oracle Board Opposes Sustainability Proposal

by | Sep 9, 2010

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Oracle’s board of directors is opposed to a shareholder proposal that calls for the creation of a board-level committee on sustainability, according to the proxy statement for the company’s upcoming annual meeting, scheduled Otober 6.

The committee would review Oracle’s corporate policies to assess and make recommendations to improve the company’s “policy responses to changing conditions and knowledge of the natural environment, including natural resource limitations, energy use, waste disposal, and climate change,” according to the proposal.

The proposal was submitted by John Harrington, president and CEO of Harrington Investments, an investment firm that promotes socially responsible investing, reports ComputerWorld.

Harrington has had previous success in similar requests to other high-tech companies including Intel. The chip maker announced in March that it would include “corporate responsibility and sustainability performance” in the board committee’s overall policy responsibility, after Harrington submitted a resolution to amend Intel’s bylaws to create a “Board Committee on Sustainability” for two years in a row.

Harrington told ComputerWorld that he’s trying to get these companies “to acknowledge that it is the directors’ fiduciary duty to ensure the company’s policies are sustainable.”

The board says that while it “takes environmental sustainability very seriously,” it opposes the adoption of this policy because the new committee would not be more effective that it’s ongoing sustainability efforts.

Oracle has an executive-level Environmental Steering Committee, which oversees and guides the company’s environmental sustainability efforts. Committee members represent various departments throughout the company including supply chain management, information technology, marketing, public policy, product development, real estate and facilities

The board also said in the proxy statement that it will “continue to develop practices and products that adhere to the principles set forth in the Environmental Policy.”

U.S. investor groups have filed 95 global warming shareholder resolutions with public corporations, a 40 percent increase over last year, according to Investor Network on Climate Risk.

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