36% of Kroger Shareholders Call for Company to Appoint Independent Board Chair
SumOfUs, Friends of the Earth urge Kroger to establish independent board chair with shareholder resolution, deliver 417,000+ petitions to eliminate bee-killing pesticides at Kroger AGM
CINCINNATI, OH — Today, 36% of Kroger shareholders voted in support of a shareholder resolution calling on the company to separate the role of the company’s CEO and board chair.
View the shareholder proposal here: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/56873/000119312517165302/d367635ddef14a.htm
Lisa Lindsley, Capital Markets Advisor for SumOfUs, an international corporate watchdog, presented the resolution calling for the separation of the role of CEO and chair of the Board. Kroger CEOs have held the role of board Chair for several decades.
During the meeting, SumOfUs and Friends of the Earth delivered over 417,000 petition signatures from consumers to Kroger, urging the company immediately take immediate action to protect pollinators, people and the planet by enacting a policy that will help eliminate the use of pollinator-toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoids. Before the AGM, food, farming and environmental organizations held a press conference to outline their demands.
The organizations responsible for submitting the over 417,000 petition signatures to Kroger today include: Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, CREDO, Friends of the Earth, Green America, League of Conservation Voters and SumOfUs.
“We believe that independent board leadership would be a constructive move for Kroger, especially when it comes to environmental sustainability issues. Kroger continues to risk its reputation by selling produce treated with neonicotinoids (aka neonics), a group of insecticides highly toxic to bees,” explained Lisa Lindsley, Capital Markets Advisor for SumOfUs. “It’s up to shareholders to ensure that Kroger’s sourcing policies don’t alienate customers. As Kroger’s competitors eliminate neonics, their company could be at a competitive disadvantage. Kroger could make more objective decisions by appointing an independent board chair, which is why we’re urging shareholders to support this corporate governance best practice.”
“Kroger’s bottom line will suffer if doesn’t take steps to address its contribution to the bee crisis,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “From the produce section to the dairy aisle, food sold at top U.S. food retailers is produced with pollinator-toxic pesticides. Polling shows the majority of consumers believe grocery stores should eliminate these harmful pesticides from the food they eat.”
Kroger competitors Wal-mart (NYSE: WMT), Costco, and Whole Foods chose to take steps to eliminate neonicotinoids from their stores, joining more than 110 retailers nationwide. Hardware stores like Home Depot, True Value, and Lowe’s also made similar commitments following an ongoing campaign by SumOfUs, Friends of the Earth and allies.