22 Jun 2012 Bed Bath & Beyond Executives Questioned Over Company’s “Sustainability” Efforts
Shareholder Demands Transparency Over Company’s “Green” Programs, Calls on Executives to Issue Separate Financial Report Detailing So-Called Sustainability Campaigns
Morristown, N.J. / Washington, D.C. – Today, at Bed Bath & Beyond’s annual meeting of shareholders in Morristown, New Jersey, National Center for Public Policy Research General Counsel Justin Danhof questioned the company’s Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares about the retail store’s push for potentially costly sustainability efforts.
Danhof also met privately with Mr. Temares and Michael Callahan, the firm’s Corporate Counsel.
Danhof left the meetings optimistic that Bed Bath & Beyond understands the consumer’s need for low prices and the importance of not forcing financially-impossible restrictions on small business suppliers in the name of “sustainability” programs that often may be imposed under pressure from outsiders.
“Mr. Temares reviewed his company’s sustainability practices with me. They appear to take pains not to hurt consumers, shareholders and suppliers, as some companies are willing to do just to please outside special interests,” reported Danhof. “For example, Bed Bath & Beyond realized that reducing packaging to save fuel would be a net positive for shareholders, vendors, customers and the environment, and they worked cooperatively but not coercively with suppliers to realize this benefit. This is responsible sustainability that hurts no one and deserves applause.”
“Mr. Temares assured me that his company considers all constituencies when making sustainability decisions,” added Danhof.
Bed Bath & Beyond is a member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) – one of the country’s largest trade organizations, representing more than 200 companies and many of the largest American retail chains. RILA is currently pressuring its membership to adhere to the association’s new sustainability policy that directs retailers to reduce their “carbon footprint” through reduced “greenhouse gas” emissions. It also sets up adherence to sustainability standards that involves the possible redesign and rating of products.
To learn more about RILA’s sustainability push, read here.
“We are concerned that RILA’s sustainability efforts may harm small suppliers who cannot afford to change to recyclable raw materials, purchase new packaging and increase compliance staff,” said Danhof. “Mr. Tamares said that his company works with vendors to implement any sustainability initiative, and the goal is to save both the supplier and company money, which, in turn, helps consumers in the form of low prices and the environment,” said Danhof.
Danhof also asked Bed Bath & Beyond executives if they would prepare a separate financial statement detailing the company’s sustainability efforts in black and white terms so that shareholders and customers can know whether the initiatives are helping or hurting the company’s bottom line.
“Tamares said his company would look into the possibility of a financial report on the company’s sustainability programs,” said Danhof, “if it can be done in a way that does not reveal proprietary company information.”
A copy of Justin Danhof’s question at the shareholder meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Bed Bath & Beyond shareholder.
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