VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/26/18)—At Tyson Food Inc.’s annual general meeting in Springdale, Ark., on Feb. 8, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) was once again lead filer of a resolution that urges the food company to adopt a comprehensive water-stewardship policy. Remaining concerned regarding Tyson’s history of water-pollution violations, ABHMS and other shareholders have been engaging with Tyson about these concerns over the years.
The resolution was moved by the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, ABHMS’ socially responsible investing consultant. It was backed by 13 co-filers—faith-based institutional investors, foundations and asset managers—who share ABHMS’ commitment to socially responsible investing as members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
The resolution received 15.83 percent of the votes cast for and against the resolution by Tyson shareholders—an increase from 14.6 percent in 2017. This number represents approximately 63 percent of Class A shares, or those not controlled by the Tyson Limited Partnership.
“The cultivation of feed ingredients for the 39,621,000 livestock produced weekly by Tyson is a primary source of water pollution due to chemicals, especially nitrates, and fertilizer inputs washing off fields if improperly managed,” according to the resolution. “Animal waste from direct operations and over 11,000 independent or contract farmers may contain nutrients, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pathogens. These contaminants and poor manure disposal practices pollute local waterways, endangering public health, workers, and the environment.
“There are also pollution risks from Tyson’s 79 processing plants, which may release huge volumes of toxic substances into waterways,” the resolution continues. “In 2016, Tyson reported 68 wastewater permit exceedances, 19 notices of violation, five chemical releases, and paid a $65,000 fine for a wastewater leak at a Mississippi facility. Tyson paid a $26,000 fine and submitted a corrective action plan after wastewater discharges at a Virginia facility exceeded permitted pollutant limits; the State Water Control Board called for a higher penalty in July 2017.”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.