Domini Pursuing Variety of Corporate Concerns

April 18, 2002 - Domini Social Investments released a progress report on its corporate governance activities that have seen it file nine shareholder resolutions and enter into discussions with 10 companies on a variety of issues including employee pensions.

Labor Policies

The way companies treat their workers is one of the issues on the group’s agenda, for example, it has asked AT&T to revise its cash-balance pension plan so as to not discriminate against longer-term employees.

“We believe that the method AT&T used to convert its plan deprives older workers of the benefit of their additional years of service and their peak earning years, and therefore risks severe damage to employee morale, as well as to the company’s bottom line,” Domini officials wrote in a report. “The method of conversion to the new (cash balance) plan has the potential to dramatically reduce the pension of 30,000 AT&T employees.”

Domini also co-sponsored a resolution with Emerson, asking it to adopt a written policy barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Global Worker Issues

Domini, manager of the Domini Social Equity Fund, said in a press release that it had also filed shareholder resolutions with The Gap and Sears and was talking with The Walt Disney Co. and Nordstrom about their overseas labor standards.

Domini later pulled its Gap resolution after the company agreed to cooperate in finding ways to measure vendors’ compliance with workers’ rights issues. Domini also reported that McDonald’s released a report on its vendor standards compliance program.

The Environment

Domini said it had made significant progress in talks with Merrill Lynch over the social and environmental impacts of Merill’s investments.

The mutual fund company said it had also initiated discussions with Procter & Gamble about the consumer-products giant replacing it’s use of old growth timber by using more recycled content in its paper products.
The group also joined other shareholders in resolutions calling on The Coca-Cola Company to report on its recycling progress and on Pepsi Co. to adopt a comprehensive recycling policy.

The soda company has agreed to increase the recycled content in its plastic bottles, while Pepsi will do so for plastic bottles sold in the US.

Domini Social Investments manages more than $1.8 billion in assets for individual and institutional investors. The company is known for its early advocacy of social and environmentally conscious investing and for being a corporate governance activist.

Domini’s Proxy Voting Guidelines & Shareholder Activism booklet is available at its Web site .