As You Sow

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As You Sow is a non-profit foundation chartered to promote corporate social responsibility (for example on human rights) through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and legal strategies.[1][2]


As You Sow was founded in 1992[1] and has five program areas for addressing its environmental and social concerns: Energy, Environmental Health, Waste, Power of the Proxy, and Human Rights.[3] Most of As You Sow's Programs include shareholder advocacy to pressure companies to adopt responsible policies. According to As You Sow, "Shareholder advocacy leverages the power of stock ownership in publicly traded companies to promote environmental, social, and governance change from within."[4]

Under the Environmental Health Program, As You Sow's Toxic Enforcement Initiative seeks to reduce and remove carcinogenic exposures by pursuing compliance with California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. As You Sow says that its Environmental Enforcement Program[5] has reached settlements with hundreds of companies resulting in products being relabeled or reformulated to remove hazardous ingredients. Funds secured through these settlements are disbursed through grants to support other organizations throughout the state.[citation needed]

Engagements with corporations[edit]

Dunkin' Donuts announced they would remove titanium dioxide from their powdered donuts after being pressured by As You Sow.[6][7] The company had been adding the ingredient to make the donuts appear more brightly white, while As You Sow had alleged that the additive was a nanomaterial with unknown health effects that could cause damage to DNA when consumed.[6] The company said they disagreed with the allegations, but would nevertheless remove the ingredient from their recipe.

With a coalition of other investment organizations, As You Sow has pressed oil and gas companies to disclose and address the risks of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").[8] Since 2005,[9] As You Sow has collaborated on Proxy Preview, providing an annual overview of hundreds of shareholder proposals.[10]

Through its Energy Program, As You Sow has engaged supermajor oil companies, including ExxonMobil, which for the first time issue a report about corporate assets that could be at risk from climate change.[11]

As You Sow regularly publishes reports on issues relating to corporate social responsibility, including executive compensation[12] and recyclable packaging in the food and beverage industries.[13]

With its Invest Your Values website, As You Sow grades mutual funds on climate change, deforestation, militarism, mass incarceration, gender equality, tobacco, and guns.[14]


In 2010, As You Sow received the California Stewardship Bow and Arrow Award for Coalition Building, sponsored by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), which recognized As You Sow's engagement of the three largest U.S. beverage companies, leading each to commit to recycling a majority of their post-consumer containers over the next six years.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About Us". As You Sow. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  2. ^ IRS Form 990
  3. ^ "Our Work". As You Sow. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  4. ^ "Shareholder Advocacy". As You Sow. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  5. ^ "Toxic Enforcement". As You Sow. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  6. ^ a b Amy Westervelt. "Dunkin' Donuts to remove titanium dioxide from donuts | Guardian Sustainable Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  7. ^ Isidore, Chris (2015-03-10). "Dunkin' Donuts to remove titanium dioxide from donuts - Mar. 10, 2015". Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  8. ^ Casey, Tina (2013-05-23). "Shareholders press oil and gas companies to disclose fracking risks". Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  9. ^ "Proxy Preview 2005". As You Sow. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  10. ^ "As Supreme Court Weighs Abortion, Expect Shareholders to Push Companies to Strengthen Reproductive Healthcare". Morningstar, Inc. 2021-12-07. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  11. ^ "Wall Street: Your Climate War Has Arrived". Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  12. ^ Francis, Theo (2015-02-12). "Study Finds Trends in Votes About 'Say on Pay'". WSJ. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  13. ^ Marc Gunther (2015-01-29). "What a waste: study finds big US brands stuck on disposable packaging". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  14. ^ "How to Plan Your Financial Future While Investing in a Healthier Planet". Audubon. 2021-12-16. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  15. ^ "NetApp, As You Sow and More Lauded for Product Stewardship". GreenBiz. 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2015-08-16.

External links[edit]