QUICK LOOK

  • Activist investors are pressuring big companies to analyze how supporting risky ideologies have affected their businesses.
  • Organizations like National Legal and Policy Center and National Center for Public Policy Research have created similar proposals for companies like Best Buy, Intel and Mondelez.
  • Company leaders should be focused on protecting the profit of their businesses — not entering risky partnerships with social justice organizations.

Corporations are facing increased pressure to defund social justice initiative, The Wall Street Journal reports, as shareholder activists question the financial risks of backing divisive sociopolitical agendas.

The Issue

Shareholders are asking major companies to analyze how aligning with “public and politically divisive positions” — like donating money to support transgender medical interventions for minor — has affected their financial stability.

Each company’s shareholders must vote in favor of the proposal before a risk analysis must take place.

Target, Dell, Intel and snack giant Mondelez will vote on similar proposals this year. Levi Strauss voted against one last month.

Some companies managed to skirt a vote entirely. According to the Journal, Walmart and Verizon “argued successfully to the Securities and Exchange Commission in recent weeks that they don’t need to hold votes on the proposals at all.”

The Players

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) and the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) have lodged most of the shareholder proposals emphasizing fiduciary responsibility.

The NCPPR participates in shareholder activism via their Free Enterprise Project, which general council Scott Shephard describes as an effort “to get companies to return to their fiduciary duties [rather than] putting the policy preferences of executives or of the giant investment houses first.”

The NLPC creates proposals aligning with their Corporate Integrity Project, which believes,

The social responsibility of the corporation is to defend and advance the interests of the people who own the company, the shareholders. True responsibility is fidelity to one’s own mission, not some else’s or someone else’s political agenda.

Activist Investing and the Ghost of Bud Light

The NLPC and NCPPR are participating in activist investing or shareholder activism.

Activist investors buy minority stakes in companies they want to change or improve. They propose changes to the company and run campaigns to convince other shareholders to back their plans.

Most activist investors make changes they hope will make the company more profitable. In this case, NLPC and NCPPR argue backing radical sociopolitical positions will lose companies money.

Bud Light is perhaps the most extreme example of this loss of income — though there are many. Anheuser-Busch lost 28% of its pre-tax profits in the second quarter of 2023 after partnering with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney — a trend that only worsened in quarter three.

Best Buy

The NCPPR created a proposal late last year requesting that Best Buy analyze whether its partnerships with and donations to radical advocacy groups were hurting its business.

The proposal specifically cited Best Buy’s donations to the Human Rights Campaign, which supports children undergoing transgender medical interventions.

To avoid a vote, Best Buy promised the NCPPR it would no longer support the causes it “identified as concerning.”

Intel

The NCPPR introduced a proposal at Intel’s shareholder meeting earlier this week requesting the tech company “create a committee to assess the extent to which Intel is undermining its financial sustainability by aligning itself with a type of radicalism that is rejected by large swaths of the market.

The organization specifically noted Intel’s problematic support for the aforementioned Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the more than $7.5 million it donated to the discredited Black Lives Matter movement.

Oreo

The NLPC is hard at work campaigning for a proposal that would “create a study subcommittee to examine the risks and consequences of Mondelez’ associations with external organizations, to determine whether they threaten the growth and sustainability of the company.”

Mondelez owns Oreo, which has a strong partnership with PFLAG — Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

PFLAG lobbies against laws banning doctors from performing transgender medical interventions on kids under 18 years old and supports kids’ access to sexually-explicit, LGBTQ books.

According to the NLPC, Oreo “aggressively promotes PFLAG and its causes through their formal partnership,” including,

  • Pledging $500,000 to PFLAG in the “recent past.”
  • Oreo create a limited-edition package of rainbow cookies as part of a campaign to raise money for PFLAG. A donation link to PFLAG was included on Oreo’s website.
  • Oreo co-sponsored PFLAG’s 2023 National Convention, which included sessions denouncing so-called “book bans.” The books’ sexual content was never mentioned.

Why It Matters

Corporate activism for immoral or niche causes leaves everyday consumers and investors in the lurch. People who invest in companies should not be forced to kowtow to the radical sexual or political beliefs of the people in charge — especially when they financially damage the company. The Daily Citizen appreciates NLPC and NCPPR’s efforts to turn company leadership back to their true mission — to make profitable businesses.

Additional Articles and Resources

Go ‘Woke’ Go Broke: Disney Stock Falls 10% After Company Reports Earnings Loss

Disney and Other Corporations Find Wokeness Bad for Bottom Line

Disney’s Layoffs and Restructuring Shows Parents Don’t Want ‘Woke’ Entertainment

Beer as Cultural Indicator — Here’s What Bud Light’s Nosedive Proves

Amazon Rejects Plea to Stop Using SPLC for Charity Guidance — Continues to Exclude Christian Organizations

Target Launches New Merchandise From ‘Transgender’ Designer with Links to Satanism and Occult

Target Removes Merchandise From Satanist LGBT Designer-But Continues to Defend ‘Pride’ Products

Three Ways the Media Supports Sexually Explicit, Inappropriate Books for Children