Pepsi HIV/AIDS Resolution Back on Tap

April 26, 2004 ( - Meritas Mutual Funds and other investors are repeating their calls for PepsiCo to investigate the economic effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the company's business.

A proxy resolution scheduled to be considered at the May 5 PepsiCo annual meeting in Texas, asks the company to analyze the economic impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on PepsiCo’s current and future operations in Africa, China, India, and Russia. Last year, 7.5% of shareholders supported the same resolution (See  Pepsi Challenge: Shareholders Call for Report on AIDS Impact ).

“When company workers, customers, and market stability are all at risk – so is shareholder value,” Gary Hawton, chief executive officer of Meritas Mutual Funds, said in a news release. “We believe it’s in both the company and shareholders’ best interest to implement a proactive approach. It’s also the moral thing to do.”

According to the 2004 PepsiCo resolution, 95% of the 42 million people worldwide with HIV/AIDS live in developing countries. The resolution asks also for an impact analysis of tuberculosis, a leading killer of people with HIV/AIDS.

Hawton says shareholders need more information on how PepsiCo may be affected by HIV/AIDS and how the company could deal with its impact. “It’s no longer just an issue of increasing charitable responses to a great human tragedy,” he asserted. “It’s about making a strategic plan to address the pandemic and preserve stability in the decade ahead. We have had general discussions with Pepsi for two years, but still need firm evidence that the company is planning to address this threat on this level.”