Investors in an industry have a certain amount of power to institute reforms. But when corporations persist in placing profits over social and environmental justice, it may be time to pull back on shareholder activism and take steps to divest from the industry.
The Unitarian Universalist Association may have reached this point with its investments in fossil fuels. Last month Chevron shareholders rejected a proposal by the UUA to separate the positions of chairman and CEO to "support greater oversight and transparency" of the second largest U.S. oil company.
Chevron shareholders also rejected limits on executive compensation and "proposals to require the company to disclose more information on fracking operations, details on why it operates in Myanmar and other politically unstable countries, and data on corporate donations exceeding $5,000."
In April the UUA Board of Trustees voted to support a resolution that "calls for divestment in companies with the worst environmental practices, while allowing the UUA to retain or purchase limited shares that would allow for meaningful shareholder activism in relationship to climate change issues."