PETA has started a new campaign against animal testing companies. Part of this campaign involves getting shareholders in offending companies to submit resolutions that the company adopt PETA's standards. In some cases PETA itself owns shares in companies that mistreat animals. This 'suggestion' is obviously backed up with an implicit threat that those companies that don't change will be faced with a boycott and smear campaign from PETA.
Some group tried a similar approach with Catepillar Tractors, trying to force it to stop selling bulldozers to Israel. Last week it forced a shareholder vote on their motion with the predictably laughable result of the motion being defeated 97% to 3%.
[ send green star]
I don't really consider that result to be "laughable." Depending on how much of the company activists actually purchased, they may have swayed some OTHER owners of the company. And besides, they probably made a few others aware that there may be something stinky in their portfolio. You have to start somewhere! But no one will get anywhere with you laughing at them.
[ send green star]
April 19, 2005 8:33 PM
First, there is nothing wrong with the portfolio - Catepillar is a fine company. I own quite a bit of their stock myself. Second, 97 to 3 is a rout. It doesn't get much worse than that - and that was after extensive media coverage and campaigning. Shareholders are not about to vote against the economic interests of the company. It just isn't going to happen.
[ send green star]
Brian I am hoping we can do just fine despite efforts from some people to drag us down.
Buying shares is only useful as a way to get a foot in the door on board meetings - to make these propositons and to appeal to the conscience of other shareholders (many of whom may just be representatives so you won't always get direct access to the people pulling the strings). It is the threat of a boycott and a smear campaign does makes them sit up and take notice. This is an indication that the campaign in the public arena has not been successful - yet.
Attacking the public image of caterpillar alone will not do much. Regular people don't buy them, and those that do will only be looking at the bottom line. But you can make a good start by demanding that your local council cease purchasing caterpillar equipment. That was done hear to help get the attention of Hardie - the building products company that poisoned the world with asbestos. You could also demand that caterpillar equipment not be used for public projects (schools, dams, roads) thus putting pressure on private contractors.
Catepillar in the portfolio April 20, 2005 2:21 PM
PEORIA, Ill. - Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. posted record first-quarter profits Wednesday, riding an ongoing sales surge that outpaced Wall Street's expectations and boosted the company's earnings estimates for the year.
The Peoria-based manufacturer's net income was $581 million for the quarter, or $1.63 a share, up 38 percent from $412 million, or $1.16 a share, during the same quarter a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected a profit of $1.36 a share.
Caterpillar, the world's No. 1 maker of earth-moving equipment, reported sales of $8.34 billion for the quarter that ended March 31, up 29 percent from $6.47 billion a year ago and easily eclipsing analyst estimates of $7.3 billion in sales.
Changing from within can work.. I do remember when we were fighting a Bennett Incinerator (former Monsanto man) Our group did have shares $1 dollars worth.. but it gave us access to the web sites, information and meetings where we could and did make our protests known to the rest of the stockholders.
I thought it was genius at the time.. Inside out is a really solid idea.
Here's an idea - everyone purchase one share in a local company for 'ideological objections.' Let us all know here which company etc. Then you can raise any objections on behalf of other people. Not sure how the technical side works as there are a lot of rules to follow.
[ send green star]
You want to see a few year's worth of Enron quarterly reports? How about WorldCom? They all looked absolutely fantastic, up until the collapse! A good report does not a good company make.
Also, by "something stinky" I certainly didn't mean on an EPS basis! I know just how well the company has done financially, their earnings have been rising for 3 years straight, healthy 2%dividends...the calculator says it's a good investment (though a bit expensive these days - highly cyclical industry)...but my calculator doesn't decide my trades for me. Besides, most of this cycle's earnings have already been realized. If you want to grab a piece of the company, wait for their earnings to drop (and they WILL), and maximize those dollars for the most voting power!
On Cat's behalf, I would like to point out that they are VERY supportive of the Diesel Technology training program here at the college where I work. In my book, that ought to count for SOMETHING!
ASV, Inc. is an alternative company in the industry, which you could buy if you wanted to be a little bit more socially responsible. It was spun-off of Polaris, Inc. though...so if you don't like Polaris, you may not like ASV either.
3% of the outstanding CAT shares is 10.3 Million shares! That's worth about $905 Million dollars (current price, $88.04)! That's a significant amount of money, which tells me they must have convinced someone, perhaps even one of the institutional investors, which is where the real power is. It is most certainly, unless you are a billionaire, not "laughable."
We have a program here that trains diesel mechanics, including alternative fuels (CnG, ClG). CAT is quite generous in equipment donations, allowing the classes to expose students to engines the college would NEVER be able to afford to provide!
[ send green star]
The idea of offering training scholarships June 27, 2006 11:21 PM
is like painting out the bloodstains in Abu Ghraib. Only those not in the know would want to go there. Since it has a global reputation for cruelty and bullying, there isn't enough paint in all the world to conceal its reputation. Anyone who buys Caterpillar shares is sharing in that reputation and is guilty by association.
Likewise Israel who were originally badly treated, have more than made up the lost ground and are now treating Palestinians in a very stinky manner and refusing to negotiate. They have no right to refuse the two state solution, and nor do the Palestinian Hamas. Anyone who helps either group in any other way than one aimed at arriving at a peaceful and equitable solution for the whole of the land once known as Palestine and including the pre-1967 borders of Israel, is immoral and any decent person should refrain from owning any shares in that company.
To buy one share could cost you in UK about £25 dealing fees (about $50 US) so you would want to buy enough shares to make it worth your while. You can find out all you need to from the financial press and by asking locals about the reputation of a local firm. If dozens of women and children are suffering from cancer, or half the population of the down is gasping for breath, you can bet your bottom dollar that a local company is to blame, and doesn't care enough to clean up its behaviour.
Caterpillar do not to my knowledge have any association with Abu Ghaib, but they do provide the bulldozers that are used to put people out of their homes and way of life. It is the guilt by association with Israel that I meant. I apologise for losing my place.
I think that if you work for a company, because you can't get a job anywhere else, you can and should try to influence the way that company operates in the world. That kind of work from within is acceptable, but to buy shares in a company is ethically dodgy.
Yes, I have an ISA, an involuntary portfolio managed by my Bank and am not entirely happy with the investments made, but haven't got round to dumping it. I will do so soon and invest in another run by an ethical Bank.