Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn
Expectations of the global community are growing, such that companies must have policies to promote and protect human rights within their areas of activity and sphere of influence to help promote and protect a company’s reputation as a good corporate citizen.
Corporations operating in countries with civil conflict, weak rule of law, endemic corruption, poor labor and environmental standards face serious risks to reputation and shareholder value when they are seen as responsible for, or complicit in, human rights violations.
FedEx, in its Annual Report 2010, states: “…our company is built around a singular vision: to make it possible for people and businesses to connect and collaborate with each other, no matter where they are in the world. Our networks are critical elements of a global force we call Access, the ability to transform through connectivity. We know…that Access has the power to change millions of lives for the better. We work constantly to expand Access. Every year, we do that more responsibly and resourcefully…” (Frederick W. Smith, Letter from the Chairman, p.6)
While FedEx states: “Our goal is to comply with all local laws and to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethics everywhere in the world,” (Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, 7-09 p.7), our company’s Code of Business Conduct does not address major corporate responsibility issues, such as, human rights. Without a human rights policy with key performance indicators, our company faces reputation risks by operating in countries, such as China, where the rule of law is weak and human rights abuses are well documented. (U.S. State Department Advancing Freedom and Democracy Report; www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/afdr/)
We recommend FedEx base its human rights policies on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognizes the collective and individual rights of over 370 million Native peoples worldwide, International Labor Organization’s Core Labor Standards and United Nations Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights.
Shareholders request management to review policies related to human rights to assess areas where FedEx needs to adopt and implement additional policies and to report findings, omitting proprietary information and prepared at reasonable expense, by December 2011.
We recommend the review include:
1. Risk assessment where FedEx operates to determine potential for human rights abuses in locations, such as Israel and other Middle East countries, Afghanistan, Sudan and other civil strife/war-torn areas, as well as countries where discrimination and abuse based on class, religion, ethnicity are known occurrences, such as India, the United States, Indonesia.
2. A report on current systems in place to ensure that FedEx contractors and suppliers are implementing human rights policies in their operations, including monitoring, training, addressing issues of non-compliance and assurance that trafficking-related concerns have been addressed.
3. The FedEx strategy of engagement with internal and external stakeholders.
We urge your support FOR this proposal.