Social activists hijack Woolworths in Australia

Social activists hijack Woolworths in Australia, by Eli Greenblat.

In a brief release to the Australian Securities Exchange this afternoon, Woolworths (WOW) said that resolutions for consideration at the AGM had been received … from 106 Woolworths shareholders representing roughly 0.0097 per cent of shares on issue. …

[One] resolution asks that the Woolworths board of directors report annually to shareholders on the company’s due diligence process for identifying, analysing and addressing potential and actual human rights impacts throughout the group’s operations. …

The Australian has been told a not-for-profit group called the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility is behind the resolutions, a self-described activist group seeking to promote “informed shareholder engagement and advocacy for more just and sustainable corporate activity.”

The ACCR has recently put forward a shareholder resolution to miner BHP Billiton (BHP) asking them to reconsider their membership with the Minerals Council of Australia as well as commission a review of its positions related to energy and climate change. …

The latest move marks an uptick in the activity by human rights activists and other social issues actors around publicly listed companies with an increasing number of AGMs being derailed by activists in the crowd who use small share holdings as a platform to make speeches or demand new initiatives by companies around issues of human rights, global warming, energy use and marriage equality.