Investor Coalition Fights Opioids Crisis


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It began as a suggestion from a county health official to leaders of a group of nuns’ money management program. They were addressing climate change, modern-day slavery and immigration — why not the opioid epidemic?

A year and a half later, the mammoth coalition of investors born from that idea wields $2.2 trillion of influence, urging the largest U.S. drug companies to take accountability for playing a role in the opioid crisis. The group, Investors for Opioid Accountability, has cut deals with companies in the business of making or distributing opioid painkillers to review how they oversee sales of the highly addictive drugs and make other corporate governance changes aimed at improving supervision of opioid sales.

“No one is untouched by the opioid crisis in the country — or even globally now as it’s beginning to turn out — but we lead with the investor lens because that is our responsibility and our duty to give an investor voice to it,” says IOA co-leader Meredith Miller. She says the coalition”s 46 members — including state treasurers, public pension funds, faith-based investors and union benefit funds — are hearing from their ministries, citizens or union members about the crisis.


IOA’s shareholder proposals include requests for reports on board oversight of risks related to opioid sales, mechanisms for recouping executive pay in the case of misconduct, disclosure of lobbying spending, independent board leadership and other adjustments to oversight mechanisms and how the CEO and other top leaders are paid.


IOA has claimed several victories so far. The coalition’s opioid risk report proposal won support from 62 percent of investors in Assertio Therapeutics Inc., which makes opioid painkiller Nucynta. The same proposal neared majority approval at AmerisourceBergen Corp., one of the “big three” U.S. drug wholesalers. IOA says it has a commitment from another large distributor, Cardinal Health Inc., to publish risk reports, recoup executive pay in cases of misconduct and split the roles of CEO and board chair. McKesson, the country’s sixth-largest company, and several manufacturers have also agreed to changes including reviews of how directors oversee opioid sales, avoiding votes on IOA’s proposals.

Read full article from CQ

Faith Based Investors Elevate Wells Fargo's Boardroom Ethics

Sister Nora Nash and Father Tom McCaney meeting with Wells Fargo

Sister Nora Nash and Father Tom McCaney meeting with Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo, on its webpage states: “As part of its commitment to transparency, Wells Fargo agreed to develop the Business Standards Report following a shareholder proposal from a group of shareholders led by the  Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. To create the report, Wells Fargo worked with more than 175 leaders and team members under the guidance of the Board of Directors and the company’s top-level Operating Committee.”

The Wells Fargo Business Standards Report was the result of several shareholder resolutions and meetings with the CEO and other Executives.  The company supported the proposal when it appeared on the proxy, with a commitment to continued engagement.

The investors, including the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia,  continue to seek transparency and monitor performance in light of the company’s past violations of trust, ethics, human rights, and failures to respect employees and customers. The company continues to reckon with its commitment to bringing about change in its culture, risk management, customer services and corporate citizenship.