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Company: Hasbro
Subject: Sustainability Report, PVC
Year: 2007
Sector: Toys
Lead Filer: Camilla Madden Charitable Trust
Outcome: Vote: 44.8%

RESOLVED: Shareholders of Hasbro Inc. request the Board of Directors to publish a sustainability report, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, by December 2007. Full text:

Whereas:

  • Investors increasingly seek disclosure of companies' social and environmental practices in the belief that they impact shareholder value. Many investors believe companies that are good employers, environmental stewards, and corporate citizens will more likely prosper over the long term and be accepted in their communities.
  • Hasbro’s Corporate Safety Health and Environmental Commitment Statement notes laudable goals such as waste reduction and increase in recycling, yet there is no reporting on progress toward those goals.
  • Companies increasingly recognize that transparency and dialogue about sustainability are keys to business success. Sustainability issues can include a corporation’s choices regarding materials, its consumption of energy, its impact on human rights, its impact on disposal and recycling, and its role in the economy of local communities.
  • The link between sustainability performance and long-term shareholder value is awakening mainstream financial companies to new tools for understanding and predicting capital markets. According to environmental research consultant Innovest, major investment firms subscribe to information on companies' social and environmental practices, including sustainability reports, to help make investment decisions.
  • An example of sustainability concerns: Hasbro sells many toys made out of or packaged in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, a substance which has come under scrutiny due to health and environmental concerns. PVC presents an array of issues throughout the production lifecycle – from use of raw toxic chemicals such as chlorine gas and cancer-causing vinyl chloride monomer in PVC production, to exposure of workers and surrounding communities where the PVC-utilizing toys are produced, to the release of toxic additives such as phthalates during use and disposal of PVC toys. An indicator of public concern is the ban effective 12/1/06 in San Francisco, prohibiting the sale, distribution and manufacture of baby products containing any level of bisphenol A and certain levels of phthalates, plasticizers used in PVC products. When it comes to the waste disposal cycle, PVC has the lowest recycling rate of the major plastic resins.
  • According to Dow Jones Sustainability Group, sustainability includes: "Encouraging long lasting social well being in communities where they operate, interacting with different stakeholders (e.g. clients, suppliers, employees, government, local communities and non-governmental organizations) and responding to their specific and evolving needs thereby securing a long term 'license to operate,' superior customer and employee loyalty and ultimately superior financial returns." (www.sustainability-indexes.com; March 2000)
  • A thorough sustainability report can benchmark our company against others. Taking the PVC example, it might examine how prominent competing toy companies and retailers such as Wal-Mart and Ikea are phasing out PVC in products and/or packaging.

RESOLVED: Shareholders of Hasbro Inc. request the Board of Directors to publish a sustainability report, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, by December 2007.
Supporting Statement:

We believe the report should include:

  1. The company's operating definition of sustainability.
  2. A review of current company policies and practices related to social, environmental and economic sustainability, including the above issues.
  3. A summary of long-term plans to integrate sustainability objectives throughout company operations.

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