As a stockholder, BBT initiates and participates in discussions with corporations to encourage the adoption of business practices more likely to promote social justice and to protect and preserve the natural environment. When dialog does not lead to the desired results, sponsoring a shareholder resolution sometimes moves an effort to a new stage. A shareholder resolution represents a direct call to a company’s board of directors to take action in response to its owners’ preferences. Membership in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a group of 275 faith-based investors, links BBT’s efforts with the knowledge and experience of a much larger group. Members discuss socially responsible initiatives and methods while coordinating efforts on corporate shareholder actions.
Dialog with ConocoPhillips builds the foundation for global change
BBT’s director of socially responsible investing activities, Steve Mason, traveled to Houston, Texas in 2011 to speak up for the indigenous people of Peru and other places where energy company ConocoPhillips is operating. Church of the Brethren members, through BBT, own stock in ConocoPhillips and want the company to vow to respect the rights of the indigenous people where the company is operating. “My focus is more on trying to get the company to think about establishing a corporate policy that is a benchmark for all of their operations wherever they may be,” said Steve.
In 2008, BBT sponsored a shareholder resolution on the issue, which has led to regular meetings between ConocoPhilllips executives and shareholder representatives. “We believe that the company has a better understanding of the issue and we are hopeful that the company will soon adopt a corporate policy that protects the rights of indegenous people,” said Steve.
"As a shareholder, we should ask the companies in which we invest to respect human dignity," emphasizes BBT President Nevin Dulabaum. “We believe as followers of Christ that we should be Christlike, that we should pay people respect, and that we should celebrate individuality.”