Boston Common Reaches Significant Agreements with Verizon on Lobbying Disclosure and The Home Depot on Carbon Emissions

Shareholder Resolutions Withdrawn Ahead of the 2019 Proxy Season

BOSTON, MA//March 6, 2019// With the 2019 proxy season underway, Boston Common Asset Management is delighted to announce we have reached significant agreements with two portfolio companies, Verizon Communications, Inc. (lobbying disclosure) and The Home Depot, Inc. (science-based targets for GHG emissions reductions), and we have successfully withdrawn shareholder proposals with both companies.

Verizon Communications Adopts Robust Lobbying Disclosure

Given Verizon Communications’ lack of comprehensive disclosure on its lobbying practices and unwillingness to engage, Boston Common filed a lobbying disclosure resolution for the fourth consecutive year. Our resolution continued to garner strong investor support in 2018 with 36.3% vote in favor.  In late 2018, Verizon left the American Legislative Exchange Council—one of the hundreds of companies to do so over the past five years.  We are pleased to share that we have withdrawn our resolution following significant steps Verizon has taken in increasing its disclosure in its recent Political Engagement Report January-December 2018, including:

  • A description of company policies and procedures
  • Management decision-making and board level oversight (annual review)
  • Comprehensive disclosure of PAC and direct corporate political contributions including amounts and listing of significant trade associations.
  • The company has also agreed to continue the dialogue and discuss potential next steps in 2019

“Under the leadership of Verizon’s new CEO Hans Vestberg, we hope to see additional advancements in stakeholder and shareowner engagement, as well as increased disclosure and transparency,” stated Lauren Compere, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management.

The Home Depot Adopts 2030 and 2035 Science-Based Targets for Carbon Emissions (Operations)

Boston Common filed a shareholder resolution in 2018 asking The Home Depot to adopt science-based targets related to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). We are delighted to report that we have withdrawn our resolution after the company agreed to make public science-based targets for GHG emission reductions. Specifically, The Home Depot has committed to a Science Based Target for Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions with reduction goals. The company is aiming for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and a 50% reduction by 2035. 

In addition, The Home Depot is now included in CDP’s new Climate Change “A” list. Only 2% of the over 6,800 of companies scored by CDP made the  “A” List. To support its ambitious corporate goals, The Home Depot has made significant investments in wind and solar for 2019 to source 135 megawatts of energy from alternative sources by the end of 2020.

“We are pleased to see The Home Depot take this step to adopt GHG reduction goals related to their own operations.  We look forward to continuing to engage The Home Depot to consider additional steps such as expanding their goals to its supply chain,” stated Steven Heim, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management.

Companies that have adopted GHG reduction goals include: Walmart, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, JP Morgan Chase, McDonald’s and Microsoft.[1]  National retailers such as Walmart, Target, CVS and Best Buy have set, or publicly committed to setting science-based targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across their operations, including their supply chains. 

Mohawk Industries Publicly Augments Board Diversity Search Criteria

Boston Common also withdrew its board diversity resolution with Mohawk Industries as the company agreed to include additional language in its board diversity search criteria and share it publicly on its website.

We anticipate that our lobbying disclosure resolutions with American Water Works, Morgan Stanley, and Oracle will go to a vote during the 2019 proxy season.

For more information on our US shareholder proposal activity or other engagement efforts, please contact Lauren Compere, Managing Director at lcompere@bostoncommonasset.com.


[1] https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1049/files/original/Power_Forward_3.0_-_April_2017_-_Digital_Second_Final.pdf?1493325339, P. 40

The information in this article should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

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