A year ago, two-thirds of Procter & Gamble shareholders bucked the company to pass a Natural Resources Defense Council-backed proposal urging P&G to increase its efforts toward eliminating Canadian deforestation. On Tuesday, though, the shareholders soundly rejected a NRDC push to not re-elect one of P&G’s directors, Angela Braly, for her alleged failure to take meaningful action in that regard.
Braly, chair of the board of directors’ Governance & Public Responsibility Committee and former CEO of insurance company Wellpoint (now Anthem), was re-elected with over 90% of investors’ votes during P&G’s annual shareholder meeting.
David Taylor, P&G’s outgoing board chairman, president and CEO, applauded that decision, pointing to such activities as the company's March publication of a Forestry Practices Report, which NRDC had branded as “largely cosmetic measures that do little to reform P&G’s operations or mitigate their detrimental impacts.”
“Despite reports, we are taking meaningful actions,” Taylor retorted in a vigorous defense of Braly and the company’s efforts on the deforestation front, referring attendees to the company’s ESG investor portal for a full listing of accomplishments.
P&G’s end product for its Canadian wood is Charmin bathroom tissue, but while the company is committed towards having all paper packaging be either recycled or consisting of third-party certified virgin content by 2030, Taylor adamantly dismissed using recycled fiber for Charmin itself, saying “it is not viable” -- both due to the dwindling supply of the recycled material and the fact that “consumers are continually voting against that.”
He said consumers who use toilet tissue made from recycled material “use more product,” helping to explain why “recycled fiber products in the at-home tissue market makes up less than one percent of the market.”
Also at Tuesday’s shareholder meeting, McDonald’s CEO Christopher Kempczinski was newly re-elected to the board of directors, and a shareholder-initiated proposal that non-management P&G employees be included in board candidates received only 7% approval. Citing such mega-rich board members as former Hewlett Packard president/CEO earning hundreds of thousands of dollars for this “part-time job,” the shareholder presenting the proposal had urged, “Let’s get a director who doesn’t live in a bubble.”
Taylor also announced that beginning in November and December, once COVID-19 testing procedures can be implemented, all of P&G’s U.S.-based employees will be required to either get tested weekly, show proof of COVID vaccination, or have a “company-approved exemption.”