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Toxic Neglect: Mutual Funds Opposing Shareholder Resolutions on Chemicals in Products Ignore Financial Risks to Shareholders
Date:2/28/2008

Turning a Blind Eye to Risk: Fidelity, American Funds, T Rowe Price, ING, Morgan Stanley, MassMutual; Some Encouraging Signs Seen at TIAA-CREF and ISS

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- More than three out of four major mutual fund families in the United States -- 40 out of 52 (or 77 percent) -- routinely opposed or abstained from voting on toxic chemical shareholder resolutions in 2006 and 2007, according to a major new report today from The Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) and The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment.

The IEHN/Rose report, Mutual Neglect: How the Largest Institutions in the Stock Market Ignore Health Problems and Financial Threats Stemming From Toxic Product Liabilities draws on data from a total of 64 families of mutual funds casting votes in 2006 and 2007 on shareholder resolutions. Only 195 votes were cast in favor and 1,752 were cast against shareholder resolutions addressing issues such as pesticides and asthma and toxic chemicals in children's toys and cosmetics. Entire fund families such as ING (213 "no" votes), Morgan Stanley (90 "no" votes), and T Rowe Price (110 "no" votes) voted against ALL resolutions. Fidelity and American Funds also did not support any resolutions. Vanguard abstained 157 times, maintaining that "social policy issues" such as toxic chemicals in products are "ordinary business" best handled by company management.

Ironically, the report finds that funds of two financial companies that market both mutual funds and health insurance -- John Hancock and MassMutual -- did not support resolutions at Dow Chemical Company requesting an assessment of links between the company's pesticide products and asthma. Morgan Stanley's mutual funds also voted against this resolution, even though Morgan Stanley contributed $60 million to the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in 2003, whose services include a facility to treat childhood asthma.

Tim Little, executive dire
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SOURCE Investor Evironmental Health Network (IEHN), Washington,D.C.
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