SEC: Pepsi Must Allow NLPC Proposal on Lobbying Priorities Like Cap and Trade
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that PepsiCo may not exclude a shareholder proposal filed by NLPC that asks the company for a report on its lobbying priorities. PepsiCo is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of corporations and environmental groups that lobbies for the disastrous cap and trade legislation.
Our resolution will appear in PepsiCo’s proxy materials, and I will speak in its support at the company’s annual meeting this spring.
By trying to preclude a shareholder discussion of this and other issues, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi seems unwilling to publicly defend the company's controversial public policy positions, which is exactly the point of our resolution. Maybe the company should change its positions on cap and trade, and other issues where it sides with anti-business activists.
PepsiCo distributes Aquafina, reportedly the largest-selling brand of bottled water in the United States. Bottled water has come under attack by the same people who push global warming alarmism. They argue that Aquafina is just tap water anyway, so it needlessly adds to carbon emissions to bottle it and truck it around.
Instead of defending the rights of its own customers to buy its product, PepsiCo seeks to appease these critics by jumping on the global warming bandwagon. It has even come up with something called the Eco-Fina bottle that uses 50% less plastic, saving an estimated 75 million pounds of plastic annually. Of course, the activists aren’t fooled, accusing PepsiCo of “greenwashing.”
So for PepsiCo, its a slippery slope. Once you accept the dubious premise that your plastic bottles made from petroleum are destroying the earth, you end up having to support grandiose plans to save it, which of course necessitates massive government intervention in the economy.
A 2009 Heritage Foundation study estimated that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill would destroy over 1.1 million jobs, hike electricity rates 90 percent, and reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $10 trillion over the next 25 years. But the effects on personal freedom would be much worse. PepsiCo spends billions attempting to predict the choices consumers will make. Too bad it can’t figure out that what human beings want the most is the freedom to choose.
As we point out, in our supporting statement:
The Company’s public policy positions and related advocacy activities should be developed and prioritized based on sound, fact-based analyses and not on “political correctness,” pressure from anti-business activists, and/or the ideological preferences of Company executives.