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Costco’s Annual Meeting took place last week and Mr. CorpGov Substack wrote that “the anti-environmental shareholder proposal from National Center for Public Policy Research received just 1.9% support.” In advance of the vote, the board recommended a “No” vote from shareholders because the company’s existing Climate Action Plan “balances the responsibility to mitigate the harms from global warming with protecting the interests of the Company’s direct stakeholders: its suppliers, employees, members, and shareholders.”

The text of the proposal requires careful reading to understand what it really requests:

“Shareholders request Costco’s Board of Directors provide an audited report evaluating the material factors relevant to decisions about whether a 2050 net-zero carbon goal, or other similar decarbonization targets,’ is appropriate, including factors that mitigate against the feasibility of such goals. These factors might reasonably include technological feasibility (or its absence), the economic consequences of adoption, the possibility that the climate models that underlie such goals are incorrect, the possibility that failure to adopt such goals in other countries will render adoption by Costco meaningless, the possibility that U.S. governments will not mandate such decarbonization – thereby upending adoption- favoring ‘stranded asset’ assumptions, and relevant considerations. The report should be made public, produced at reasonable cost, and omit proprietary information.”

Mr. CorpGov offered context for the 1.9% figure:

“anti-ESG shareholder proposals received an average support of 2.4% (as of Q3). In 2024, there would be little surprise if anti-ESG shareholder proposals continued their basement-level support.”

If that prediction holds true, we’ll have to see if that investor sentiment impacts state anti-ESG laws. The Costco shareholder proposal, board recommendation and a statement of support of the proposal for Bowyer Research are available on that website, er – substack. One day, I hope to learn what a “substack” is or does, but for now – I’m mired in ESG buzzwords and not looking to stick my foot in another pile of jargon.

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Photo credit: Sundry Photography –

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile