Shareholder Resolutions

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Company: Verizon
Subject: Lead-Acid Battery Recycling
Year: 2013
Sector: Electronics Retail/Manufacture
Lead Filer: Maryknoll Sisters
Cofiler(s): Catholic Health East, First Affirmative Financial Network, Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, Congregation of Divine Providence San Antonio
Outcome: Withdrawn in response to corporate commitments

Reducing Health Hazards from Manufacturing and Recycling Lead Batteries

Whereas, the neurotoxic and developmental impacts of lead have been well-established for decades, leading to global action to eliminate lead in paint and gasoline;

Whereas lead battery production accounts for over 80 percent of global lead consumption and almost all used lead batteries are recycled, regardless of whether they are used in the United States or elsewhere around the globe;

Whereas the New York Times reported in December 2011 high levels of community and occupational exposures around lead battery recycling plants in Mexico.  Mexico receives 20% of the United States' used batteries;[1]

Whereas the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) framework initiated an independent investigation "Environmental Hazards of the Transboundary Movement and Recycling of Spent Lead-Acid Batteries" in January 2012;[2]

Whereas Verizon Communications uses large numbers of lead batteries to support its data center operations/communication towers and in other operations;

Whereas, lead battery recycling outside the United States endangers public health in part because of a lack of rigorous government controls in those countries. In contrast, new regulations in the US have prompted investments to reduce emissions from lead battery recycling;

Whereas proponents further believe that poor management of batteries in our company's supply chain can pose reputational and legal risks to our company; and

Whereas proponents believe it is in our company's interest to track the fate of used lead batteries generated from operations and to ensure that batteries are properly recycled in appropriately licensed facilities that meet stringent environmental and occupational safety standards.

Therefore be it resolved:

Shareholders request that the Board of Directors report to shareholders, by November 1, 2013 on options for policies and practices our company can adopt to reduce the occupational and community health hazards from manufacturing and recycling lead batteries in the company's supply chain. Such a report would be prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information such as proprietary or legally prejudicial data.

Supporting Statement.  Proponents believe that a report should address such questions as how the company tracks shipments of used batteries to recycling facilities, how to ensure that used batteries are not being shipped to recycling facilities with pollution and occupational safety controls that are less strict than those that would be applicable in the United States; and what mechanisms are used by the company  (such as company auditors, or third-party auditors or certifications) to assess supplier/recycler performance against  such environmental and occupational performance standards.








[1]  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/science/earth/recycled-battery-lead-puts-mexicans-in-danger.html?pagewanted=all


[2]  http://www.cec.org/Page.asp?PageID=751&SiteNodeID=1075