Coca-Cola shareholders will vote today on a proposal asking the company to disclose how it is responding to public concerns about the safety of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in the epoxy lining of Coca-Cola's canned beverages.
The shareholder proposal was filed by Domini Social Investments, As You Sow, and Trillium Asset Management Corp.ã€€This is the first shareholder proposal ever filed solely focusing on BPA.
RiskMetrics Group and ProxyGovernance Inc., two of the largest proxy advisory services in the nation, have recommended that shareholders vote "for" the resolution at Coca-Cola. Both groups note that Coca-Cola does not sufficiently disclose the steps the company is taking to address shareholder and consumer concerns about the use of BPA in can linings.
Scientific studies indicate that BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that mimics estrogen in the body. Numerous animal studies link BPA, even at very low doses, to changes in brain structure, immune system, and male and female reproductive systems changes. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association links BPA exposures in humans to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and liver enzyme abnormalities. Health Canada, a Canadian federal agency, has warned that BPA can leak into beverages.
In response to consumer concerns about the safety of BPA, manufacturers of baby and sports bottles have been eliminating BPA-containing plastics from their product lines. BPA is not used in Coca-Cola's plastic bottles.
In January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that the agency had some concern about the potential health effects of BPA on fetuses, infants, and young children. The agency concluded that it "will support changes in food can linings and manufacturing to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels â€¦"
As You Sow is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting corporate social responsibility and shareholder advocacy. Trillium Asset Management Corporation is an independent investment management firm devoted to sustainable and responsible investing.