Napa – In response to the news that Oracle, Cisco and Microsoft have been removed from the voluntary Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Nasdaq Sustainability Index (QCRD), Harrington Investments, Inc. (HII), a socially responsible investment advisory firm has introduced bylaw amendments at three tech companies, empowering the board of directors to create standing committees on environmental sustainability.
In March of this year, Harrington Investments was successful in reaching an agreement with Intel Corporation to amend the company’s Charter of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee to include “corporate responsibility and sustainability performance” into the committee’s overall policy responsibly. Intel also provided HII with a legal opinion stating that under Delaware law Intel directors have a fiduciary duty to address these issues.
“Clearly, voluntary environmental codes adopted by corporate management is simply a form of greenwashing to gain positive publicity for Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco,” said John Harrington, President/CEO of HII. “The fact that these companies were removed from the Sustainability Index last year for lack of reporting, proves that they never had any intention to pursue true sustainability.”
Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle were removed from the QCRD because they did not disclose the minimum 40% of core GRI metrics needed to qualify. These core metrics include issues such as water use and waste production.
Since 1999, the GRI has grown to become the global standard for sustainability reporting that covers the environmental, social, governance and economic performance of companies. In 2009 over 1,360 companies issued a report based upon the third version, G3, of GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
Harrington is astounded by the fact that these three firms, which represent themselves as global leaders in their respective industries, show complete disregard for being transparent. “This bylaw proposal is an opportunity for all of these technology firms to establish leadership in addressing transparency and sustainability related issues,” stated Harrington. “Amazingly enough, three of the largest and most successful technology firms in the world fail to comply with these guidelines and is cause for concern.”
“Hopefully Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle can look at the steps taken by Intel and use them as a guide in realizing that addressing sustainability and transparency are key to the long-term success and existence of their businesses. Sustainability should be inserted into the DNA of these companies as a fiduciary duty of the board of directors,” concluded Harrington.
Harrington Investments, Inc. is a 28 year-old Napa, California-based socially responsible investment advisory firm that manages assets of individual and institutional investors requiring social and environmental as well as financial portfolio performance. Harrington utilizes comprehensive social and environmental screens, commits clients’ assets to community investing and engages in shareholder advocacy. They recently introduced shareholder resolutions specifically on U.S. economic security, corporate governance, CEO compensation and advancing human rights and sustainability as part of corporate officers’ fiduciary duties.