- About Domini
- Domini Funds
- Responsible Investing
- Investor Services
- Learning & Planning
Action Alert Update & Archive
Domini issues Action Alerts when important issues require a rapid response. We appreciate the strong participation we’ve received for many of our Action Alerts. (For example, our call for proxy voting disclosure generated more than 2,500 comment letters to the SEC.)
Summaries and updates of past Action Alerts are below. Please note that these Action Alerts are no longer current.
Help Protect Funding for Banks and Credit Unions That Build Communities
On February 12, 2011, the House of Representatives approved a spending bill that included only $50 million for the CDFI Fund — a devastating 80% cut from the $247 million allocated in 2010. Community development financial institutions like the ones in the portfolio of the Domini Social Bond Fund invest directly in underserved communities, helping people buy homes and start small businesses. The CDFI Fund provides them with vital support in that important work. In March of 2011 Domini issued an Action Alert in support of the Opportunity Finance Network's efforts to protect the CDFI Fund.
Tell the SEC That Shareholder Resolutions Matter
Investors have real power to change corporate behavior for the better. One of our most important tools is the right to propose shareholder resolutions — proposals that appear on the corporate proxy statement, to be voted on by all shareholders. In 2007, the SEC sought public comment on concepts that could have virtually eliminated shareholder resolutions. For example, the SEC questioned whether companies should be permitted to simply "opt out" of the process altogether. In July 2007, we issued an Action Alert calling on investors to tell the SEC that the voice of shareholders must continue to be heard in the boardrooms of the companies they own. We issued a follow-up Action Alert in September 2007.
Update: More than 400 messages were sent in response to our July Action Alert, and the SEC referred to these messages in its formal proposal. More than 1,500 messages were sent in response to our follow-up Action Alert in September. In November 2007, the SEC voted to disallow shareholder proposals that relate to the election of corporate directors — a setback for shareholders’ rights. However, the SEC did not act on a series of open-ended questions that would have eliminated shareholder resolutions altogether.
Hold Companies Accountable for Asbestos Hazards
Asbestos, a fibrous mineral commonly used in construction until the mid-1970s, causes diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and painful cancer of the membranes that line the abdomen and surrounding organs. In February 2006, we issued an Action Alert calling on members of the U.S. Senate to oppose a bill that would cap asbestos liabilities through a $140 billion trust fund. The proposed Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act (S. 852) would prevent victims of asbestos from getting fair compensation through the courts, and would provide a windfall to major corporations that had lobbied aggressively for the bill.
Update: About 300 messages were sent to U.S. senators in response to this Action Alert. The bill failed to pass a February 2006 vote by the Senate, and was sent back to committee.
Protect Your Access to Data on Toxics
Since 1986, the Toxics Release Inventory has informed communities, activists, and social investors about poisons released to the environment. The Toxics Release Inventory came in response to the Bhopal disaster, when chemicals released from a Union Carbide plant in India killed thousands of people. In November 2005, we issued an Action Alert calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to drop two proposals: one requiring facilities to report their toxic emissions only once every other year instead of every year, and the other allowing them to release ten times as much pollution before triggering requirements to report on the quantity of toxic chemicals they release.
Update: More than 800 messages were sent in response to this Action Alert.
Keep the Community Reinvestment Act Strong
In May 2005, we issued our third Action Alert to help protect the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). This one called on the FDIC, the Federal Reserve, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to withdraw their proposed changes to the CRA, under which CRA exams would no longer look at how many branches a bank operates in underserved communities, and banks would no longer have to disclose data on how much credit they provide for community development, small farms, and small businesses.
Update: Over 1,000 messages were sent in response to this Action Alert.
Help Stop Genocide in Sudan
The campaign of ethnic cleansing by government-backed militia in the Darfur region of Sudan has included the murder of women and children, the bombing of villages, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese. In April 2005, we issued an Action Alert in support of the Darfur Accountability Act, which called for a UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on the government of Sudan, including an arms embargo, a military no-fly zone, increased assistance to African Union peacekeepers, and the prosecution of those responsible for the genocide.
Update: More than 1,200 messages were sent in response to this Action Alert.
Community Reinvestment Act Faces New Threat
For the second time in three months, we issued an Action Alert to help protect the Community Reinvestment Act. Proposed changes by the Office of Thrift Supervision would allow thrift institutions (savings and loans) with more than $1 billion in assets to pick and choose which community needs they would meet. The proposed changes would also allow thrifts to obtain CRA credits by financing community development in affluent neighborhoods rather than poor ones. When two thrifts merge, they would no longer be required to meet with community groups to discuss the impact on the community. We called on the Office of Thrift Supervision to withdraw these destructive changes.
Update: Over 1,100 messages were sent in response to this Action Alert, exceeding even the strong response to our first Action Alert on behalf of the CRA.
Save the Community Reinvestment Act
The Community Reinvestment Act is one of the most important mechanisms available to ensure that capital is available to at-risk communities. In October 2004 we issued an Action Alert calling on the FDIC to withdraw a proposal that would weaken the Act. The proposal would allow almost 900 state-chartered banks to pursue only one type of community development activity — lending, investment, or services — rather than all three. This would remove a strong motivation for these banks to partner with community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
Update: Although our Action Alert was posted shortly before the deadline for comments on the FDIC’s proposal, it generated an extraordinary response: more than 1,000 messages in all.
Support a Crusader for Children’s Rights
On June 14, 2004, Kailash Satyarthi, a long-time crusader against child labor, led a raid on The Great Roman Circus in Colonelganj, India, after receiving a tip that the circus was exploiting hundreds of children. When Satyarthi and his team arrived, the circus owner and a gang attacked them with iron rods, knives, and guns. Our Action Alert called on the government of India to punish the attackers and provide security for Mr. Satyarthi and his colleagues.
Update: The attack caused a nationwide outcry and led to a court action that freed 11 kidnapped Nepali girls who had been forced to work in the circus. No one involved in the assault was charged except for the son of the circus owner, who was held for the rape of an underage girl.
Promote Democracy in Burma
In December 2003 we issued an Action Alert calling on the military regime of Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi — the rightful leader of the country — and other political prisoners, and to allow opposition organizations to operate freely. In May 2003, thugs backed by the brutal military regime that controls Burma had attacked the motorcade of Aung San Suu Kyi. Ms. Suu Kyi and many of her supporters were arrested. In November the Burmese regime claimed to have released Ms. Suu Kyi from house arrest, but reports indicated that the offer of release (if it was in fact made) was unacceptable to her because many others remained in prison.
Update: In June 2004, the U.S. Senate voted to renew import sanctions against Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi had not yet been released.
Protect Our Water
In July 2003 we rallied support for the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act, which reaffirms the original intent of the Clean Water Act and helps ensure that all waters of the U.S. continue to be protected. The government had recently taken steps to remove federal Clean Water Act protection from many waters (including creeks, streams, small ponds, and wetlands) that had long been protected by the Act. The proposed rulemaking, introduced by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, would allow pollution, dumping, filling, and dredging in creeks, streams, and small ponds — and according to the EPA, up to 20 million acres of wetlands.
Update: In December 2003, the EPA announced that it would not go forward with plans to reduce the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act.
International Tobacco Treaty
In May 2003 we issued an Action Alert asking you to support the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a landmark treaty that calls for a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising (with an exception for nations with constitutional constraints), large health warning labels, secondhand smoke protections, and other antismoking measures. More than 400 of you responded by sending email messages to the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Update: Reversing its previous position, the U.S. government decided to support the treaty at a meeting of the World Health Assembly. Tommy Thompson, then head of the Dept. of Health and Human Services, said, “Much to the surprise of many around the world, I’m going to be supporting the tobacco treaty.”
Support Community Investment
In March 2003 we asked our shareholders and other concerned citizens to write in support of increased funding for the U.S. government’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund. The Fund provides important support for CDFIs like those in the portfolio of the Domini Social Bond Fund. President Bush had proposed only $51 million for the CDFI Fund for fiscal year 2004, a decrease of 32% from fiscal year 2003 and 57% since fiscal year 2001.
Update: In September 2003 the U.S. Senate passed an appropriations bill that included a $70 million allocation for the CDFI Fund — $19 million more than the $51 million requested by the president and allocated by the House of Representatives.
Proxy Voting Disclosure
In 2001 Domini petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to require all mutual funds to make their proxy voting guidelines and actual votes available to their shareholders. With your help we generated more than 2,500 comment letters to the SEC in support of the SEC’s proposed rule. Altogether the SEC received more than 8,000 comments from individual and institutional investors — an unprecedented level of support for an SEC rule proposal.
Update: In January 2003 the Securities and Exchange Commission passed the new rule, requiring proxy voting disclosure by both mutual funds and investment advisers.
In July 2002 our Action Alert asked shareholders and the public to urge Governor Gray Davis of California to support AB 1493, an important bill designed to address global warming by curbing automotive emissions of greenhouse gases.
Update: Governor Davis signed the bill into law, making California the first state in the nation to take such action against global warming.