Coca-Cola shareholders overwhelmingly vote down proposal to go after pro-life states

If the actions of Coca-Cola shareholders are any indication, corporate involvement in political issues may soon be a thing of the past.

In a recent vote, 87 percent of controlling shares of the carbonated soft drink manufacturer “voted against a proposal to conduct a survey into how state laws restricting abortion impact the company’s business performance,” the New York Post reported — the proposal cited research showing women who do not have access to abortion are more likely to drop out of the workforce.

The proposal read: “Shareholders request that Coca-Cola’s Board of Directors issue a public report prior to December 31, 2023, omitting confidential information and at a reasonable expense, detailing any known and potential risks or costs to the company caused by enacted or proposed state policies severely restricting reproductive rights, and detailing any strategies beyond litigation and legal compliance that the company may deploy to minimize or mitigate these risks.”

It was reportedly introduced by As You Saw, a nonprofit that promotes ESG (environmental, social, and governance) policies in corporations. The activist group suggested that the board of directors, at its discretion, may elect to cease operations in states where abortion restrictions are in place, the Post noted.

“In its discretion, the board’s analysis may include effects on employee hiring, retention, and productivity, and decisions regarding closure or expansion of operations in states proposing or enacting restrictive laws and strategies, such as public policy advocacy by the company, related political contribution policies, and human resources or educational strategies,” a statement said.

Reporting on the vote comes amid news that Bud Light sales dropped a devastating 26 percent in the third week in April as a result of the Dylan Mulvaney fiasco — Bud Light had the bright idea to have Mulvaney, a 26-year-old biological male presenting himself as a woman, act as a brand ambassador. Overall, sales of the beer have declined by 17 percent, according to the trade newsletter Beer Business Daily.

Coca-Cola’s Board of Directors said in a proxy statement it had “carefully considered this shareowner proposal and recommends that shareowners vote AGAINST it.”

“The Board believes that the Company’s robust risk management processes that are already in place are appropriate and sufficient to address potential risks raised in this shareowner proposal, without conducting additional analysis or reporting,” the statement said. “In addition, the Company already has in place comprehensive health benefits that provide for our employees’ needs, as opposed to what might be otherwise suggested in this proposal.”


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Tom Tillison


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