Shareholder advocacy takes many forms, including phone calls, direct dialogue, proxy voting, and shareholder resolutions. Calvert also works to drive corporate sustainability forward through participation in standard setting exercises, publication of research reports, and involvement in public policy. Calvert has employed all of these tools during an ambitious and successful advocacy season.
Diversity and Women
Calvert has made significant progress in turning the Calvert Women's Principles®, from an aspirational to an operational framework. It remains the first global corporate code of conduct focused on advancing, empowering, and investing in women. In partnership with Verité and the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Calvert has developed the Gender Equality Principles, created a vanguard network of companies committed to advancing gender equality in the workplace, and hosted corporate roundtables focused on developing indicators and guidance materials to promote practical implementation of the Principles.
Calvert has recently released a report, Examining the Cracks in the Ceiling, based upon the diversity practices of more than 600 companies in the Calvert Social Index Fund.
Human Rights, Labor Rights, and Indigenous Peoples' Rights
Calvert is working with the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility to encourage more than 30 companies from a cross-section of industries to use Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) as part of their standard corporate practice.
In continuing our work on the issue of freedom of expression and the right to privacy relating to China and the Internet, Calvert raised our concerns directly with Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo!. We participated in the multi-stakeholder dialogue convened by the Center for Democracy and Technology and Business for Social Responsibility, which included those companies and others, together with human rights NGOs, other SRI firms, and academic experts. The dialogue produced what will likely become the global standard for the Internet and human rights.
Calvert is also participating in an international multi-stakeholder initiative to address the large-scale use of child and forced labor in the Uzbek cotton industry. With our coalition partners, we requested a meeting with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, which took place in May. Recently we helped draft and then signed letters from the coalition of other SRIs and NGOs to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, International Labor Organization (ILO) Director General Juan Somavia, and Uzbek President Islam Karimov, urging the government to work with the ILO to transition away from child labor.
Calvert and a coalition of investors filed shareholder resolutions calling on six major Wall Street firms to push Sudan to end the violence in Darfur and accept full deployment of U.N. peacekeepers. These financial firms are among the largest U.S. shareholders of foreign oil companies, including China National Petroleum Corporation of China, Petronas of Malaysia, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India, and Sinopec Corporation of China, which provide material support to the Government of Sudan.
Governance and Disclosure
Calvert successfully withdrew four of six shareholder resolutions we filed asking companies to produce sustainability reports. We focused on the U.S. airline industry, which lags behind its international peers in sustainability reporting. Continental Airlines, UAL Corp (United Airlines), and JetBlue Airways have each committed to ongoing dialogues with Calvert to release a sustainability report prior to the end of the first quarter of 2009.
For the third year in a row, we filed shareholder proposals to establish board level oversight of political spending and to disclose political contributions made with corporate funds. We also filed political contributions proposals with Unisys, Xerox, and eBay, which we were able to withdraw after the companies agreed to strengthen and disclose their policies governing political spending and disclose the political contributions made with corporate funds.
Environment and Climate Change
Calvert worked with the Investor Network on Climate Risk to draft a letter that was endorsed by more than 50 leading investors with more than $2.3 trillion in assets under management. The letter, in support of energy efficiency and conservation and investments in renewable energy, brought the investor voice directly to the attention of Congress. Calvert analysts also met with congressional staff about climate change legislation. Bennett Freeman, Calvert's Senior Vice President of Social Research and Policy, spoke at a rally in support of the Climate Security Act of 2008 alongside environmental leaders and six senators.
Continuing our support of the Carbon Disclosure Project, Calvert filed shareholder proposals with companies that have not yet disclosed their greenhouse gas emissions or their strategies to reduce emissions and manage the risks associated with climate change. Calvert resolutions resulted in agreements with retail companies Big Lots and Lowe's, and transportation companies Kirby, Ryder, and Harley Davidson. For the first time, each of these companies has agreed to disclose the steps they are taking to address the challenges of climate change.
Calvert intensified its work with the Investor Environmental Health Network, including filing its first ever resolutions on nanotechnology (operative particles smaller than 1000 nanometers). Nanotechnology is used in a variety of consumer products despite the scientific community's concerns about safety. Calvert filed resolutions with Colgate Palmolive and Avon to report on nanomaterial product safety, and to discuss any new initiatives to respond to this public policy challenge. Colgate agreed to disclose its policy of ensuring that adequate safeguards are followed during research and development of products that might contain nanomaterials. Calvert's Avon resolution received an extraordinary 25 percent vote on a first-time resolution.
Calvert released a new report on environmental and sustainability practices in the homebuilding industry. The report, Greener Pastures for America's Homebuilders, ranks the 13 largest publicly traded U.S. homebuilders on key environmental and energy efficiency factors, and encourages the industry to embrace the emerging market for sustainable building design and construction.
Read further details of Calvert's advocacy for the 2008 proxy season and previous years (Proxy Voting Decisions.)
As of March 31, 2013, Leapfrog Investments represented 0.02% of the assets of Calvert Equity Portfolio, and Kickboard represented 0.05% of the assets of Calvert Balanced Portfolio. Holdings are subject to change.
Investment in mutual funds involves risk, including possible loss of principal invested. In addition to the risks associated with the types of investments identified above, the Special Equities investments that the Funds make involve a high degree of risk and are all subject to liquidity, information and transaction risk. These risks may cause the value of an investment to decline below its costs and, in some instances, to lose its value entirely.