This interview podcast and video is with the As You Sow CEO Andy Behar. Andy has 30 years of experience as a Senior Executive and strategist in the cleantech, communications, and life science sectors. He served as COO for a social media agency focused on sustainability and has been a strategic consultant in the nonprofit sector. He is a member of the board of US Social Investing Forum (US-SIF) and is a member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Green Finance Advisory Group. His wroteThe Shareholders Action Guide: Unleash Your Hidden Powers to Hold Corporations Accountable in 2016. You can see our video of our interview here
As You Sow is a non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy. The work with companies, through their network, to make positive changes.
In 2017, As You Sow filed over 50 resolutions across five program areas. The five areas are:
- Energy (climate change, water risk, clean tech)
- Waste (consumer packaging, ocean plastics, electronic waste)
- Human Rights (responsible sourcing network)
- Environmental Health (antibiotics & factory farms, GMOs and pesticides)
- Executive compensation
As You Sow is making an impact using shareholder advocacy. You can read about shareholder resolutions at: asyousow.org/resolutions-tracker
As You Sow put pressure on Starbucks to stop using plastic straws. They also helped more Duncan Donuts and McDonald’s away from using styrofoam.
As You Sow engages with companies, in addition to filing shareholder resolutions. It is easier to bring up an issue with a company through a call or letter and have them take action than to file a shareholder resolution and get support. The company can even get credit for being responsible.
They conduct media campaigns on issues, contact shareholders, follow voting on issues, and they can follow up and contact people who did not support the resolution.
Every March, As You Sow publishes a free guide to proxy voting: Proxypreview.org – this allows shareholders access to an easy guide to vote on shareholder resolutions.
In addition to shareholder advocacy, As You Sow has a mutual fund screening tool so that mutual fund holders can see and compare the impact of the funds they hold. Many people are not aware of the underlying companies that they hold. They have a tool for evaluating: carbon footprint, amount fossil fuel free, weapons holdings, deforestation impact and tobacco. They will be adding more screens to the tool, including: prisons, women in power and palm oil.
As You Sow is funded through grants and private donations. You can donate at their website: asyousow.org/donate
You can find out more about As You Sow at their website: asyousow.org