Alignment between Corporate Values and Political Contributions




The proponent believes McDonald’s should establish policies that minimize risk to the corporation’s reputation and brand;


McDonald’s Corporation Political Contribution Policy indicates that “Political Contributions are made in a manner consistent with the Company’s core values and to protect and/or enhance shareholder value;” and


McDonald’s corporate mission and values state a commitment to nurturing employees, ethical business, and giving back to our communities.


Research by the Proponent uncovered political and trade association contributions that appeared to undermine these very commitments


  • Employee rights. We pledge to treat our employees with “fairness, respect and dignity”, and claim to “pay fair, competitive wages” however, we have made contributions in 2014 to politicians and organizations opposing increases to the minimum wage including $10,000 to Paul Ryan, $5,000 to John Boehner and $10,000 to the National Restaurant Association. (As of December 2013, the average McDonald’s hourly employee was paid $7.73/hour).


  • Climate change. We agree with the scientific community that “human influence on the climate system is clear,” yet donate to many politicians who deny the existence of climate change or question the scientific consensus that humans are causing it, including John Boehner, Doug Collins, Rodney Davis, John Cornyn, and Mitch McConnell.


  • GMO labeling. In 2013, recognizing our commitment to food safety and quality, we pledged not to use “Arctic Apples”, a genetically modified crop; however, we donate to many politicians who voted against GMO labeling, including John McCain, Marco Rubio and Thad Cochran. (We also partner with corporations that use GMO products or oppose labeling, such as Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Cargill, and ConAgra.)


The corporation and shareholder value may be at risk of litigation or boycott should it become publicly known that the corporation violated its own values.


Resolved: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors report to shareholders annually at reasonable expense and excluding confidential information, a congruency analysis between corporate values as defined by McDonald’s stated policies, and political contributions or trade association fees paid by the Company occurring during the prior year which raise an issue of misalignment with corporate values, and stating the justification for such exceptions. The report should:


  1. Identify recipient individuals and organizations, as well as the amount paid to each;
  2. Identify the intersection and areas of conflict between a recipient’s policy stances and McDonald’s corporate values and mission;
  3. Include management’s analysis of risks to our corporation’s brand, reputation, or shareholder value;
  4. Include coherent criteria for determining congruency, such as identifying policy issues or legislative initiatives considered most germane to corporate values; and
  5. Based on the above, evaluate the identified incongruent contributions.