Climate advocacy groups launch ‘vote no’ campaign against P&G Board of Directors

Angela Braly, James McNerney singled out for failure to address human rights, environmental violations in company’s pulp, paper supply chains

CINCINNATI — Climate advocacy groups Stand.earth, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Friends of the Earth, Environment America, and Rainforest Action Network are launching a “Flush P&G Directors” campaign encouraging investors to vote against two key members of Procter & Gamble’s Board of Directors, singling out Angela Braly and James McNerney for their role in failing to address human rights and environmental violations in the pulp and paper supply chains of the world’s largest consumer goods company. 

The groups announced the campaign today, August 26, on National Toilet Paper Day — just one day before Procter & Gamble is expected to release its proxy statement and open voting in the leadup to its annual meeting in October 2021.

“In its supply chains from Canada to Indonesia, Procter & Gamble’s suppliers continue to drive environmental destruction, land grabbing, and Indigenous rights violations. Its suppliers remain embroiled in protracted land conflicts with local communities, while its executives refuse to hear — let alone address — these grievances,” said Daniel Carrillo, Forest Campaign Director at Rainforest Action Network.

“Procter & Gamble has made some small changes to mitigate its harmful impacts to the environment and Indigenous communities, but its reforms have been cosmetic at best. The destruction continues, as the climate crisis worsens, and it is clearly past time for these board members to go,” said Tyson Miller, Forest Programs Director at Stand.earth.  

Over the last three years, P&G has endured grassroots pressure in its hometown and nationwide, and in 2020, a rebellion by investors who defied company recommendations and passed a shareholder resolution demanding P&G address the financial threats of deforestation and forest degradation in its supply chains.

“Ten months after Procter & Gamble’s shareholders resoundingly called on the company to address its impacts on climate-critical forests and Indigenous rights, P&G has failed to take meaningful action. In light of this immense failure of leadership and P&G’s continued culpability in Indigenous rights violations and primary forest loss through its tissue and palm oil supply chains, organizations are calling for P&G’s Board of Directors to be held accountable,” said Shelley Vinyard, Boreal Corporate Campaign Manager at NRDC. 

In May, an investor risk alert revealed that P&G’s ongoing failure to distance itself from irresponsible suppliers — largely sourcing from the boreal forest of Canada and the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia — poses a material risk to P&G and its investors. P&G’s pulp and palm oil suppliers for products like Charmin toilet paper and Head & Shoulders shampoo have been found to cause significant degradation to primary forests that are home to threatened species like caribou (reindeer) and orangutans, as well as to contribute to human rights violations, including the use of forced labor and the violation of the right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) by Indigenous communities.

“For the sake of the billion birds and endangered caribou in the boreal, and for all living beings on Earth who benefit from the forest’s role in diminishing the effects of climate change, we need to keep boreal trees standing tall. The softest toilet paper in the world will not be much comfort if we destroy our environment to get it. Procter & Gamble continues to talk a good talk about the boreal forest, but there seems to be no real progress away from intact forest wood pulp toward more sustainable fibers,” said Ellen Montgomery, Public Lands Campaign Director at Environment America.

ABOUT ANGELA BRALY & JAMES MCNERNEY 

Since 2009, board member Angela Braly has chaired P&G’s Governance and Public Responsibility Committee, where she is responsible for guiding board recommendations on social responsibility issues, including human rights and sustainability. Notably, since 2016, she has also served on ExxonMobil’s board, and until recently, was chair of their Public Issues and Contributions Committee. 

“Angela Braly’s role as chair on ExxonMobil’s public issues committee, which she held until recently, is an indication of her shared priorities at P&G — to garner huge profits for a corporation whose viability is based on furthering the climate crisis. Given her utter failure to address P&G’s human rights and environmental violations, she needs to be voted off P&G’s board,” said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forest Programs Director at Friends of the Earth.

Board member James McNerney has been P&G’s Lead Director since 2003, which is a longer tenure than many investors accept. McNerney is also the former chair, president, and CEO of Boeing, where he oversaw the development of the Boeing 737 MAX, which was roiled in controversy. McNerney’s involvement in the disastrous 737 MAX has caused advocacy groups to question his ability to adequately respond to risks.

WHAT’S NEXT

Given P&G’s failure to address its ties to forest destruction and human rights violations, in the lead up to the company’s annual meeting in October 2021, environmental advocacy groups will focus their efforts on engaging with shareholders to oppose the re-nomination of board members Angela Braly and James McNerney.

In addition, the groups will run a social media campaign using the hashtag #FlushPGDirectors, host a webinar for climate activists, release additional information highlighting the risks stemming from the company’s supply chains, and hold a rally at the company’s Cincinnati, Ohio, headquarters.

Communications contact: Virginia Cleaveland, [email protected], +1 510 858 9902

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