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Newground News

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Listen to the Public Radio Feature on Newground
It tells the inside story of a transformational shareholder engagement with McDonald's.

Click here to listen online or to download podcast from NPR affiliate 94.9 FM.

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On This Page:

    click to view:   1. Selected Press, Policy Submissions, and Shareholder Proposals
    click to view:   2. Presentations
    click to view:   3. Publications and Interviews
    click to view:   4. Shareholder Successes and Policy Initiatives

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Newground's famous Holiday Celebration 

    Click here for 2011 photos
    Click here for 2010 photos

    Note:  2010 link takes you to the 1st of 3 photo sets.
    Click "Sets" near top of page to see and select from each of the three sets of celebration photographs.

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  Newground is proud to be an annual sponsor of the

  Whidbey Island Bioneers Conference: 'Inspired Solutions for the Puget Sound'

  Watch for 2012 event details – 2010 and 2011's sold-out events took place on the
  beautiful lands of the Whidbey Institute.


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1. Selected Press, Policy Submissions, and Shareholder Proposals:   (partial listing)

    08/07/2012 in  KPLU Humanosphere  "Seattle activists seek to make TPP as well-known – and infamous – as WTO" by Tom Paulson
    06/30/2012     KEXP 90.3 FM  "Sustainability Segment, with Bruce Herbert & Larry Dohrs" – Interview on progress made during the 2011-2012 proxy season in holding public corporations accountable, with host Diane Horn.
    05/25/2012 in  Puget Sound Business Journal  (print edition) "Public Companies: Shareholders call for brighter light on political spending" about Investor Voice efforts to encourage transparency around companies’ activity & spending to influence politics; by Greg Lamm
    05/24/2012 in  Seattle Times  (print edition) "Amazon addresses criticism at meeting" quotes Newground on Amazon's progress in corporate social responsibility (CSR); by Amy Martinez
    05/24/2012 in  Crooks and Liars  "Inside the Amazon Shareholders’ Meeting – ALEC, Mic Check and More" is an article with a slide show of photographs showing the protest outside and the activities inside Amazon.com’s annual meeting of shareholders, including Newground’s shareholder proposal on transparency & accountability; by KaroliK
    05/24/2012 in  Puget Sound Business Journal  (print edition) "Amazon shareholders met by protesters, company cuts ties with ALEC" describes Newground’s shareholder proposal requesting transparency of political activity; by Emily Parkhurst
    05/24/2012      KPLU 88.5 FM  “‘Huge Victory’ – Amazon drops ALEC, will spend millions on AC” interviews Newground’s Bruce Herbert (minute 0:42-1:09) regarding shareholder proposal on political transparency voted on at Amazon; with Ashley Gross and Jake Ellison
    05/24/2012 in  TechFlash  "Amazon shareholders met by protesters, company cuts ties with ALEC" describes Newground’s shareholder proposal requesting transparency of political activity; by Emily Parkhurst
    05/18/2012 in  Chicago Tribune  "Political Advocacy Piques Shareholders’ Interest” features Newground’s work with Boeing; by Ameet Sachdev
    05/14/2012 in  International Business Times  "Chevron Shareholders Ask SEC to Investigate Company Disclosures On $18B Ecuador Judgment" quotes Newground regarding the SEC complaint against Chevron; by Pierre Bertrand
    04/06/2012 in  Puget Sound Business Journal  (print edition) "Social Purpose Corporations to Become Legal June 7" on Newground's becoming WA State's (and the nation's) first "Social Purpose Corporation" (SPC); by Valerie Bauman
    03/31/2012 in  Seattle Times  (print edition) "Amazon a virtual no-show in hometown philanthropy" by Amy Martinez and Kristi Heim
    03/21/2012     CNBC's "Squawk on the Street"  Nationally televised interview of Newground's Bruce Herbert, on Starbucks and environmental sustainability; with Simon Hobbs & Melissa Lee.
    03/20/2012 in  Seattle Times  (print edition) "Starbucks' socially responsible image cuts both ways" by Melissa Allison
    03/16/2012 in  Bloomberg BusinessWeek  "Washington State Tailors 'Social Purpose Corporation' to Sustainable Business" on Newground becoming WA State's (and the nation's) first "Social Purpose Corporation" (SPC); by John Tozzi
    03/09/2012     JM Smucker Co.  Investor Voice shareholder proposal to Smucker's on fair & democratic vote-counting  (primary filing of a resolution created by Investor Voice).  Click here for a blog post that describes more about the issue of unfair vote-counting in corporate America.

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    12/30/2011     Target Corp.  Newground shareholder proposal to Target on the recycling of electronic waste.  (co-filing, done in conjunction with AYS, the As You Sow Foundation)
    12/28/2011     Amazon.com  Newground shareholder proposal to Amazon.com on Disclosing Political and Trade Association Activity  (primary filing, created in conjunction with the Center for Politica Accountability)
    12/23/2011     Newground's 2011 Holiday Reflection & Engagement Update  Our holiday greeting, along with a reflection on the successes and activities of 2011.
    12/14/2011     Chevron Corporation  Newground shareholder proposal to Chevron on special shareholder meetings  (primary filing, done in conjunction with New York State, Amazon Watch, and the UUC)
    11/17/2011     Boeing Company  Newground shareholder proposal to the Boeing Company on Disclosure of Political Expenditures  (primary filing, in conjunction with the Center for Political Accountability)
    11/10/2011     Berkshire Hathaway  Newground shareholder proposal to Berkshire Hathaway on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions  (primary filing, in conjunction with Ceres)
    01/15/2011     KUOW Presents  Megan Sukys interviews Bruce Herbert on the important shareholder success with McDonald's  (for more, also see Newground's 12/24/2010 Holiday Letter)

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    12/24/2010     Newground's 2010 Holiday Reflection & Engagement Update  Our holiday greeting, along with a review of and reflection on the successes, sadnesses, and activities of 2010.
    12/16/2010     Massey Energy  Newground shareholder proposal to Massey on Fair Vote-Counting and Shareholder Democracy  (primary filing, created by Newground)
    12/15/2010     Chevron Corporation  Newground shareholder proposal to Chevron on Selection Criteria for operating in countries with deplorable human rights records  (co-filing, done in conjunction with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters)
    12/14/2010     Amazon.com  Newground shareholder proposal to Amazon.com on Disclosing Political and Trade Association Activity  (primary filing, created in conjunction with the Center for Politica Accountability)
    12/14/2010 in  Project CSR  "Profitable Social Investing in Seattle" by Dr. Mar Smith
    12/08/2010     Nordstrom  Newground shareholder proposal to Nordstrom on Supply Chain Vendor Standards, and Water  (primary filing, created in conjunction with Ceres)
    12/07/2010     Time Warner  Newground shareholder proposal to Time Warner on Consistent Sustainability Reporting  (primary filing, created by Newground)
    11/30/2010     Plum Creek Timber  Newground shareholder proposal to Plum Creek Fair Vote-Counting and Shareholder Democracy  (primary filing, created by Newground)
    11/16/2010     Newground  "Investor Statement Calling For Action on Climate Change"  (Newground joins group of Investors Representing More Than $15 Trillion in Call for U.S., International Action on Climate Change)
    11/12/2010     Boeing Company  Newground shareholder proposal to the Boeing Company on Disclosure of Political Expenditures  (primary filing, in conjunction with the Center for Political Accountability)
    11/11/2010     Berkshire Hathaway  Newground shareholder proposal to Berkshire Hathaway on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions  (primary filing, in conjunction with Ceres)
    10/28/2010     Newground  "Concept Release on the US Proxy System"  (Newground submission to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) on S7-14-10)
    10/22/2010 in  Inside Investor Relations  "The debate about virtual shareholder meetings" by Neil Stewart
    10/19/2010     Newground  "Investor Statement Opposing California Proposition 23"  (Newground joins group of 68 institutional investors who manage $415 billion in assets, in signing a statement against CA Proposition 23)
    10/05/2010 in  Reuters  Exclusive: "Symantec to restore live investor meeting" by Ross Kerber
    09/26/2010 in  The New York Times  "Questions, and Directors, Lost in the Ether" by Gretchen Morgenson
    09/24/2010 in  Reuters  "Analysis: Shareholder meetings via Web mute dissident voices" by Ross Kerber
    09/22/2010 in  CorpGov.net  "Symantec Audio-Only Meeting Gets National Coverage" by James McRitchie
    09/21/2010 in  United States Proxy Exchange  "Charade at Symantec" by Glyn Holton
    08/12/2010 in  Fortune  "Political ads, brought to you by Goldman Sachs?" by Tory Newmyer
    07/04/2010 in  The Seattle Times  "Shareholders Vote, but Companies Count the Vote" by Rami Grunbaum, deputy business Editor
    04/16/2010 in  MarketWatch  "Investor groups take action in wake of Citizens United ruling" by Ronald Orol

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    10/30/2009 in  The Stranger  "Real-Live Business Folks Talk about the Mayoral Candidates" by Brendan Kiley
    10/02/2009 in  The New York Times  "Investor Advocates Press Business Groups Over Climate Policy" by Michael Burnham, of Greenwire
    09/30/2009 in  Solve Climate News  "Nike Joins Exodus from US Chamber of Commerce Board" by Stacy Morford
    09/29/2009 in  ClimateBiz  "Shareholders Urge Nike to Leave U.S. Chamber Over Anti-Climate Bill Efforts" by Staff
    09/28/2009     Newground  "US Chamber of Commerce and Misalignment With Nike"  (Newground letter to Nike)
    03/31/2009 in  Reuters  "Historic Shareholder Agreement Reached With McDonald's on Pesticide Use Reduction" Press Release
    08/08/2008     Newground  "Comment on Exposure Draft – Disclosure of Certain Loss Contingencies"  (Newground submission to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on more stringent corporate disclosure)
    07/22/2005 in  Seattle Post-Intelligencer  "Tax helps society recoup investment" by Bruce Herbert, Guest Columnist
    04/24/2005 in  The New York Times  "Managers to Owners: Shut Up" by Gretchen Morgenson

   

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2. Presentations at:   (partial listing)

    the Conscientious Projector Film Festival
    the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
    the NW Pulp & Paper Association
    the Oregon Sustainability Forum
    the Phinney Neighborhood Association
    the Profitable Sustainability Conference
    the Responsible Wealth national conference
    the Rolling Thunder and Seattle Thunder Democracy Festivals
    the Seattle GreenFestival
    the Seattle University School of Law
    the Sustainable Industries Economic Forum (respondent to Paul Hawken)
    the University of Washington School of Business (keynote for graduating class)
    the University Unitarian Church
    the US Green Building Council
    the Washington DC GreenFestival

   

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3. Published in or Interviewed by:   (partial listing)

    KUOW Presents  Megan Sukys 1/15/2011 interview of Bruce Herbert on the shareholder success with McDonald's  (for more, also see Newground's 12/24/2010 Holiday Letter)
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    Bloomberg
    BusinessWeek
    Dow Jones
    FA Green
    Fortune
    Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC)
    KBCS radio : 'Voices of Diversity'
    KEXP radio : 'Mind Over Matters'
    KUOW radio : 'Weekday' and 'KUOW Presents'
    KWJZ radio and KKNW : 'The Spotlight Program'
    MarketWatch
    Puget Sound Business Journal
    Reuters
    RiskMetrics
    Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Seattle Times
    The Nation (Thailand)
    The New York Times
    The Stranger

   

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4. Shareholder Successes and Policy Initiatives:   (partial listing)

The Okefenokee's Victory over DuPont
Culminating three years of effort, an important shareholder victory was finalized when DuPont announced a gift of 16,000 acres to protect critical lands adjacent to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia — land that DuPont had originally intended to strip-mine in a 24/7, 50-year-long project in search of the seventh-most-common mineral on Earth, titanium dioxide.

Because the Okefenokee is an internationally-known environmental treasure, the project provoked heated national debate and was the subject of two Newground-led shareholder proposals which brought together a sizable group of institutional investors.

DuPont moved from vigorously asserting their right to mine, to making the largest conservation gift in the history of the State of Georgia — a gift that permanently protects the Okefenokee from mining or development. While we credit the Sierra Club for maintaining consistent pressure on DuPont over an extended period of time, the Sierra Club credits our shareholder action, stating "it would never have been done if you [the shareholders] had not come on board."

In addition, the company donated $5 million toward the creation of a world-class education center right at the gates of the Okefenokee, in Folkston, GA. This infusion of capital led to an economic renaissance for a town that was as economically devastated and wrung-out as one could imagine. The transformation was so beneficial that a person might not recognize Folkston from that day to today.

In considering the significance of this win-win outcome, it is important to recognize that had Newground been a typical SRI* or ESG* investor who only screens their portfolio, early on we would have sold our shares and walked away — with the result that DuPont would be strip-mining the Okefenokee today.

    * SRI = Socially Responsive.., Socially Responsible.., or Sustainable and Responsible Investment
    * ESG = Environmental, Social, and Governance factors

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Proxy Vote Victory at the SEC
Newground worked on the successful (and enormously important) campaign to improve proxy voting rules at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and also on the equally critical SEC rule to change how directors are nominated and elected to corporate boards.

Fair Trade Coffee — Proctor & Gamble
In conjunction with Oxfam America and Global Exchange, Newground engaged in company dialogs with Proctor & Gamble (one of the world’s top four coffee purveyors) about Fair Trade coffee. This led to a significant agreement under which P&G launched two Fair Trade lines under its Millstone brand.

Costco / Caterpillar / Pharmaceutical Companies & AIDS Drugs
Newground filed shareholder proposals with Costco regarding a highly controversial store planned for Cuernavaca, Mexico; with Caterpillar about the use of its equipment in human rights violations in Gaza; and with several major pharmaceutical and other companies concerning improving access to AIDS drugs in developing countries.

Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) / Burma
Newground was a founding member of the steering committee for the Alliance to Defend the Alien Tort Claims Act (a critical human rights accountability law), and we took part in the successful push that passed the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act through Congress.

   

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Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)
Bruce Herbert earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation in 2003.

Community Investing
Newground continues to be a member of the Social Investment Forum’s Community Investing Honor Roll, which recognizes firms nationally for the leadership they show in helping communities prosper.

Newground's Unique Approach
Newground’s work in community investment and direct shareholder advocacy distinguishes us nationally, because most other firms only screen investments for their clients.

Screening means avoidance — Engagement changes behavior
While maintaining stable and productive portfolios, Newground places clients at the leading edge of the social investment movement — which brings us closer to the positive future we desire.

Newground serves institutions and individuals of means who recognize the inherent need to align investments with a larger set of social and environmental values — which creates positive change along with strong performance.

Contact us

   

 

Now enjoying its second decade, Newground Social Investment provides individual, institutional, GLBT, and not-for-profit clients with:

Socially responsive (SRI* / ESG*) money management that integrates investment decisions with social concerns and personal or institutional values.
Competitive financial returns along with positive social impact.
Financial coaching and Life Planning that creates peace of mind, a sense of integrity, and financial security.
Community investment for strong local benefits.
Shareholder advocacy for transformation, transparency, and accountability.

Newground is a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor serving institutions and individuals of means who are principled, proactive and inspired to make a difference with their investments.

    * SRI = Socially Responsive.., Socially Responsible.., or Sustainable & Responsible Investment
    * ESG = Environmental, Social, and Governance factors

   

  About Us Values News Blog


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