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Shareowners Press for ALEC Exodus
By Holly Testa, Director, Shareowner Engagement

Why do progressive companies that have heavy investments in renewable energy, forward-looking environmental policies, and publicly acknowledge the need to tackle climate change still belong to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)?

Shareowners, including First Affirmative, have been asking this question of companies in their portfolios through letters, dialogue, and resolutions. The good news is that there are fewer companies getting the “Why?” question. Over 95 companies have left Alec as of November.

ALEC promotes and advocates for model legislation for submission to state legislatures across the country. A centerpiece of ALEC’s agenda is to support the fossil-fuel-driven status quo in the energy arena—with resolutions that strongly oppose renewable portfolio standards, greenhouse gas regulation, and carbon taxes.

The High-Tech Defection

Affiliation with ALEC has been particularly troubling for technology companies that present a polished green, clean, and forward-thinking public image. However, many tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, have dropped their membership in ALEC. Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt recently explained their decision to drop ALEC this way in an NPR interview:

 "Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place, and so we should not be aligned with such people—they're just, they're just literally lying."

 Where Is eBay?

A notable name missing from this defection list is eBay. The company has recently been targeted by a stakeholder campaign questioning eBay’s continued membership in ALEC.

eBay is a widely held stock among First Affirmative clients, in part because of its strong stance on many issues we believe are crucial to long-term value. For example, eBay has signed the Climate Declaration that urges strong federal action on climate change. The company's support for this and many other progressive environmental policies stands in stark contrast to their support of ALEC.

On behalf of our clients and the planet earth, we have written to eBay, adding our voice to the chorus that is asking them to reconsider their membership in ALEC.


At First Affirmative, we understand that the ways we save, spend, and invest can dramatically influence both the fabric and consciousness of society. We believe that in addition to the benefits of ownership, investors bear responsibility for the impact our money has in the world. Are you making conscious decisions about the impact of your consumer purchase and investment decisions?

Mention of specific companies or securities should not be considered an endorsement or a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Posted: December 17, 2014