June 18, 2010
Stanford will vote 'yes' on shareholder resolutions asking companies to report their efforts to avoid using 'conflict minerals' from Congo
The Stanford University Board of Trustees recently approved a new proxy voting guideline that says the university will vote "yes" on "well-written and reasonable shareholder resolutions that ask companies for reports on their policies and efforts regarding their avoidance of conflict minerals and conflict mineral derivatives."
The 32-member board approved the new guideline at its June 9-10 meeting.
"The proxy voting guideline to support resolutions asking companies to address the issue of conflict minerals reflects Stanford's values as a socially responsible investor," said Leslie Hume, the board's chair. "It is narrowly drawn and broadly supportive of efforts by leading technology and electronics companies to address the problem of conflict minerals in their supply chain."
The trade in Congo's conflict minerals tin, tantalite, tungsten and gold, which are used in cell phones, laptops and MP3 players is a major source of funding for armed groups in eastern Congo whose members commit atrocities against civilians.
Hume applauded students for bringing the issue to the university's attention.
"Stanford students, through diligent research and constructive advocacy, played a key role in bringing this issue to the attention of both the university's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing, and to the board's Special Committee on Investment Responsibility," she said.
The student group is Stanford STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition.
The university's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility & Licensing unanimously approved the proxy voting guideline in April, and then forwarded it to the Board of Trustees. The advisory panel is composed of 12 people, including four members of the faculty, four students (two undergraduates and two graduate students), two members of the university's staff, and two alumni.