The Share­holder Ac­tion Guide: Un­leash Your Hid­den Pow­ers to Hold Cor­po­ra­tions Ac­count­able

Re­plete with ex­pert ad­vice, real ex­am­ples, and use­ful tools, this book will em­power share­hold­ers.

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction - BARRY SIL­VER­STEIN

An­drew Be­har Ber­rett-koehler Pub­lish­ers Soft­cover $19.95 (208pp) 978-1-62656-845-7

This su­perb hand­book will help ac­tivist share­hold­ers nav­i­gate cor­po­rate ac­count­abil­ity.

As CEO of As You Sow, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that fo­cuses on en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity, An­drew Be­har knows a thing or two about hold­ing public cor­po­ra­tions ac­count­able. He shares this con­sid­er­able knowl­edge in a book that speaks di­rectly to the in­di­vid­ual cor­po­rate share­holder.

The book lays out, in sim­ple terms, the process that public-com­pany share­hold­ers should go through to be most ef­fec­tive. It also clearly ex­plains the some­times be­wil­der­ing machi­na­tions sur­round­ing prox­ies and share­holder res­o­lu­tions, the two pri­mary meth­ods for mak­ing one’s voice heard. There is use­ful de­tail sur­round­ing how to draft and file or co-file a share­holder res­o­lu­tion, as well as how to suc­cess­fully pro­mote it to en­cour­age pos­i­tive share­holder vot­ing.

One of the strengths of The Share­holder Ac­tion Guide is its use of nu­mer­ous ex­am­ples, based on ac­tual cases, that demon­strate ex­actly how even one or a hand­ful of share­hold­ers can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence. In 2011, for in­stance, Be­har’s or­ga­ni­za­tion filed a share­holder res­o­lu­tion with Mcdon­ald’s in an ef­fort to get the cor­po­ra­tion to use “en­vi­ron­men­tally ben­e­fi­cial” cups in­stead of poly­styrene, which at the time ac­counted for some 770 mil­lion cups per year used in the United States alone. This ac­tion was the spark that, along with pres­sure from share­hold­ers, foun­da­tions, and ac­tivist groups, led to Mcdon­ald’s agree­ing to first a pilot pro­gram and then a roll­out of re­cy­clable cups to all their US restau­rants. Ac­cord­ing to Be­har, the Mcdon­ald’s ex­am­ple shows how ac­tive share­hold­ers can “present an op­por­tu­nity for a com­pany to shift a pol­icy or adopt a bet­ter busi­ness plan and then lead an in­dus­try.”

In ad­di­tion to its well-writ­ten text, The Share­holder Ac­tion Guide con­tains valu­able re­sources, such as links to free down­load­able share­holder res­o­lu­tion ex­am­ples and a glos­saryand-acronyms sec­tion.

The Share­holder Ac­tion Guide is re­plete with ex­pert ad­vice, real ex­am­ples, and use­ful tools for any share­holder in­ter­ested in be­ing em­pow­ered. The book is an ac­tivist war-cry that should deeply res­onate with read­ers who want to hold cor­po­ra­tions ac­count­able for their ac­tions.

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