The Shareholder Commons announced today that Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM, the “Company”) has agreed to provide comprehensive reporting on the systemic effects of the use of antibiotics in its supply chain by the end of 2021.
Paul Rissman, a long-time shareholder of the Company, worked with The Shareholder Commons, a non-profit organization that seeks to shift the paradigm of investor thinking towards a systems-first approach, to submit a shareholder proposal earlier in the year. Rissman and The Shareholder Commons have now withdrawn their proposal on the same matter in recognition of the agreement.
The agreement with The Shareholder Commons requires the Company to: incorporate a study of the system-wide costs of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) into its public sustainability reporting. disclose its findings regarding how antibiotic use in animal husbandry threatens global health and well-being, as well as the global economy and diversified shareholder interests. discuss an optimal, global scenario for the food industry to eliminate or internalize AMR costs and address competitive concerns that would make progress more difficult without such an approach. describe how its policies and procedures—including those covering lobbying, political expenditures, and other forms of political influence—affect the realization of the global scenario.
“Antimicrobial resistance is a complex challenge which requires action by governments, NGOs, and corporations,” said Professor Dame Sally Davies, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University. “We are all happy to see Yum! take this important step and hope to see more companies begin to align their AMR strategies explicitly with the needs of the global health system and planet.”
“While U.S. securities laws require companies to disclose matters that are material to their own financial performance, there is no requirement that companies report their impacts on the economy or shareholders who hold diversified portfolios that depend on broad economic performance,” said Frederick Alexander, CEO of The Shareholder Commons. “We are excited to see Yum! become the first public company to agree to disclose its impact on the broad economy and diversified shareholders.”
AMR threatens global health by reducing antimicrobial drugs’ effectiveness. If the current trend continues, humanity will experience a reversal of the public-health gains of the past century and the economic growth, development, and poverty reduction these gains enabled. According to studies by the World Bank and the UK government, AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths per year by 2050. In addition to this staggering loss of life, AMR may decrease global GDP 3% by 2030, and almost 4% by 2050, amounting to economic losses by 2050 of $54 trillion in today’s dollars.
“Yum! looks forward to further collaboration on this important issue,” said Jon Hixson, Yum! Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of Government Affairs. “We remain committed to playing a positive role when it comes to the responsible and judicious use of antimicrobials and decreasing antimicrobial resistance.”
“I am a long-time investor in Yum!, but I also have diversified holdings, and so do my children. More importantly, we all live on the same planet. I’m thrilled to see that Yum! recognizes that its practices affect everyone, and not just its shareholders,” said the proponent, Paul Rissman, co-founder of Rights CoLab. The Shareholder Commons is supporting multiple proponents in filing shareholder resolutions with a beta-activist lens, which involves looking for opportunities for shareholder activism that can influence corporate behavior with respect to social and environmental systems that affect the economy as a whole. The full list of current shareholder resolutions and votes is here.The Shareholder Commons Announces Withdrawal of Shareholder Proposal after Yum! Brands Commits to Disclose Systemic Costs of Antibiotic Use