Advocacy has been at the heart of Calvert's mission for nearly a quarter century, beginning in 1982 when it was the first mutual fund to exclude investments in apartheid South Africa and continuing in 1986 when it became the first mutual fund to file a shareholder resolution.
To carry forward our legacy as a leading investor voice on behalf of corporate responsibility and accountability, we have set four major strategic priorities to guide our advocacy work, consistent with the signature issues with which Calvert has long been identified.
Diversity and Women
We are building on the success of recent Calvert diversity resolutions and campaigns by promoting comprehensive diversity programs and pushing for women and minority representation in corporate boardrooms and executive suites. We will continue to advance the Calvert Women's Principles® (launched in 2004 in partnership with the United Nations Development Fund for Women, known as UNIFEM) as the leading global framework guiding business on ways to invest in and empower women-from the poorest communities to the most powerful companies.
Environment and Climate Change
We will continue to advocate for important environmental issues, such as a environmental management, forest certification, and product stewardship. We will also reinforce our emphasis on the overriding challenge of climate change at a time when the American public has become more aware of this problem than ever. We will address the risks and opportunities that companies face as a result of climate change through direct company dialogue and involvement in investor coalitions, as we promote energy efficiency, green building, and voluntary emissions reduction goals.
Human Rights, Labor Rights, and Indigenous Peoples' Rights:
We will continue to focus on strengthening human rights standards and performance across key industries and their global supply chains, and on protecting the rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples. We are also addressing the emerging issue of freedom of information and expression relating to China and the internet and engaging with the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights with other social and religious investors.
Governance and Disclosure:
We will sharpen our focus on disclosure of environment, social, and governance performance metrics. We will also continue to press for expanded shareholder rights by raising the issues of executive compensation, qualified majority voting, and disclosure of political contributions.
The key to our success is combining a consistent focus with the rich mix of advocacy tools and channels at our disposal, such as:
Direct company dialogues. Dialogues are increasingly constructive channels for changing corporate policies. This year we have had substantive discussions with several major multinational corporations not currently meeting our sustainability criteria, seeking to learn what it would take to make the cut.
Filing shareholder resolutions. Calvert has filed 23 resolutions for company annual meetings in 2008 and we will continue to submit others when we are unable to reach companies through dialogue alone.
Industry standard-setting exercises. We participate in many investor coalitions working to leverage change across industries and often on a global basis. One example is the Carbon Disclosure Project, an effort by global institutional investors with $31 trillion in assets to push companies to disclose efforts to address climate change.
- Public policy and regulatory advocacy. Given our local proximity to the Capitol, we are in a unique position to work with the US Government, the World Bank, and Washington think tanks and media. We have presented comments to the SEC on executive compensation and proxy voting disclosure, and worked to support the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory.
We believe that executing these strategies will help advance Calvert's long-term goal of aligning corporate social, environmental, and governance practices with our shareholders' best interests.