SEC Says Wal-Mart Can’t Nix NLPC Shareholder Proposal on Global Warming

Mike Duke photoThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has notified Wal-Mart that it will not allow the company to exclude from consideration our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the business risks of climate change. Our supporting statement criticizes the company’s support for unpopular measures like Cap & Trade, and for forcing its controversial political positions on its suppliers.

On January 28, Wal-Mart challenged the proposal to prevent its inclusion in the proxy and a vote by shareholders. By doing so, Wal-Mart continues its policy of hostility toward those of us who advocate for its right to pursue its business model, while at the same time embracing and bankrolling anti-business activists.

This process began under former CEO H. Lee Scott and has accelerated under current CEO Mike Duke (in photo).  Wal-Mart’s shift to the Left was first detailed in our 2008 Special Report titled Wal-Mart Embraces Controversial Causes: Bid to Appease Liberal Interest Groups Will Likely Fail, Hurt Business. At the 2010 annual meeting, I blasted Wal-Mart’s support for both ObamaCare and Cap & Trade.

Our supporting statement reads, in part:

Wal-Mart has committed itself to dramatic measures to reduce carbon emissions, and to support controversial political positions, even as scientific and political factors related to global warming are rapidly changing.

Documents and emails released from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in late 2009 exposed vulnerabilities in the reliability and objectivity of key information provided to the United Nations’ influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  In 2010, the IPCC acknowledged its Nobel Prize-winning 2007 report on global warming included inaccuracies and exaggerated claims based on questionable data sources.

According to the Wal-Mart 2009 Sustainability Report:

“Currently, we are…supporting legislation in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – including the enactment of a well-designed cap-and-trade system.”

As the 2010 elections demonstrated, the American people overwhelmingly rejected cap and trade. In West Virginia, successful Democratic Senate candidate Joe Manchin ran a TV ad in which he picked up a rifle and used a copy of the cap-and-trade bill for target practice.

On February 25, 2010, Wal-Mart announced plans to eliminate 20 million metric tons of emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015, thus imposing its political agenda on its suppliers.

On its website, Wal-Mart says its “broad environmental goals” include :

1.     To be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy

2.     To create zero waste

These goals are neither achievable nor desirable. They move Wal-Mart beyond political correctness into the realm of the absurd. Revisiting the risks of climate change through this report may help Wal-Mart avoid future embarrassment.

The Resolution itself reads:

Resolved: Wal-Mart shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare by October 2011, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, a report disclosing the business risks related to climate change, which may include :

1.     Impact of Legislation and Regulation

2.     Impact of International Accords

3.     Indirect Consequences of Regulation or Business

4.     Physical Impacts of Climate Change

Wal-Mart’s annual meeting will take place in early June in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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SPECIAL REPORT: Wal-Mart Embraces Controversial Causes: Bid to Appease Liberal Interest Groups Will Likely Fail, Hurt Business