International

Shareholders push companies to evaluate racial equity

December 19, 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the disparities for people of color in areas such as vaccine access and health care. This year, shareholders have filed a slate of resolutions calling on multiple companies to conduct third-party racial equity audits that evaluate how their products, policies and practices discriminate against or disparately impact communities of color.

Mercy Investment Services has filed resolutions at Anthem, Johnson & Johnson, Dow, and Tyson for their 2022 annual general meetings (AGM). Shareholders recently withdrew the Tyson resolution after the company agreed to conduct an independent third-party audit that will include stakeholder interviews and investor feedback. Investors filed 12 resolutions for the 2021 AGMs calling for racial equity audits. Resolutions were withdrawn at BlackRock, CoreCivic, Morgan Stanley and Amgen based on their commitments to conduct internal audits. Mercy Investments is looking forward to reviewing the audits as they’re completed.

To combat systemic racism, corporations should recognize and remedy industry and company-specific barriers to a fully inclusive society and economy. The recent racial equity audit proposals will further the longtime work of Mercy Investment Services and other investors to try to create a more just society.