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Shareholder Activism: Coach Inc.
11 / 2 / 2017
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As an investor, you probably own shares in fashion brand Coach, Inc (which also owns Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman). On November 8th, you can take advantage of those shares to help decide if the luxury fashion house should take action on animal cruelty and greenhouse gas emissions.

Whether you’re an expert with multiple accounts or you’re just saving up for retirement with your IRA, you’ve probably received large bundles of proxy ballots in the mail. You’ve probably never voted – only 28% of individual investors do. Yet with nearly 80% of the shares in publicly traded companies directly and indirectly owned by individuals, businesses are beholden to us, and not the other way around. Thanks to new technologies, it’s now super easy to vote your shares and share with others. Learn more in our shareholder activism series.

Learn more about proxy voting or download the OpenInvest app to vote your shares with a swipe.

Shareholders are asking Coach to prepare a report evaluating “the potential for the company to voluntarily address its role in climate change by achieving ‘net-zero’ emissions of greenhouse gases.”

However, the board of Coach feels they have already done enough and recommends that shareholders vote against the report. Coach has started climate change reduction efforts like calculating its Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon footprint, trying to build energy-efficient retail locations, setting a zero-waste goal for 2020, and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of their shipping processes. Yet with CO2 levels rising faster than ever and the US government pulling out of the Paris Agreement, some shareholders don’t think it’s enough.  What do you think?

Shareholders are also asking that Coach write up a report on the risks involved with making and selling products from real animal fur.

The Humane Society, a part owner of Coach, cited financial reports that concluded that selling real fur products could put companies and their investors at risk, noting instances of companies like SeaWorld performing poorly in the wake of animal cruelty exposure. The Humane Society doesn’t believe that Coach’s current reporting on animal products is detailed enough, though the Coach board disagrees and recommends that shareholders vote against this report as well. How will you vote?

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