Coca-Cola Co. investors voted Tuesday against a proposal seeking a report on how abortion restrictions impact the beverage company’s business.
The proposal, filed by As You Sow, asked for a report detailing potential workforce risks or costs resulting from state abortion restrictions. The proposal noted research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that says those who can’t access abortion are three times more likely to leave the workforce. The proposal secured 13% of the preliminary vote.
“Coke may not want to get involved in the politics of this topic, but the politics of this topic have gotten involved with Coca-Cola,” said Meredith Benton, a consultant from Whistle Stop Capital who works with As You Sow, when presenting the proposal at the meeting. Benton noted that Coca-Cola’s headquarters is in Georgia, where a new law bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
The company declined to comment Tuesday.
Coca-Cola said in its proxy statement that its “robust risk management processes” are sufficient to address potential risks the proposal raises.” The company also said it has “comprehensive health benefits that provide for our employees’ needs, as opposed to what might be otherwise suggested in this proposal.”
Proxy advisory firm ISS recommended a vote against the proposal in advice sent earlier this month to Coca-Cola shareholders. ISS argued that the company could face legal or reputational risks if the company more explicitly details strategies for employees seeking abortion. This advice was a significant shift from a recommendation ISS gave for a similar proposal at Walmart last year, before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.
Abortion-related proposals have mounted this year: Investors have targeted 30 companies on the issue.
Coca-Cola also faced a proposal from Clean Yield Asset Management calling for a report detailing how its political spending matches its policies and values. The proposal, which didn’t pass, said it estimated that Coca-Cola has given over $1.8 million to politicians and organizations seeking to limit access to reproductive healthcare. The proposal received 30% of the preliminary investor vote.
Another proposal, filed by Service Employees International Union Pension Plans Master Trust, had sought a third-party audit of how Coca-Cola’s policies and practices impact non-white stakeholders, including over how its drink advertising targets Hispanic and Black communities. The proposal, which did not pass, secured 13.4% of the preliminary vote.
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