Josh Lowensohn’s account of this year’s meeting of Microsoft shareholder began with the following item:
At Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting this morning, shareholders voted down a proposal that would create a board committee on environmental sustainability.
The committee, which Microsoft's board members had advised shareholders to vote against, would have put into place a group that would assess Microsoft's energy use, waste disposal, as well as take into consideration things like natural resource limitations. The committee would then share this information with both Microsoft's board and the company's shareholders.
As the rest of Lowensohn’s report indicates, there was a fair amount of grumbling about return-on-investment is a variety of agenda items; but this makes for a useful indicator of the capitalist view of environmentalism. Lowensohn cited other companies that have been more amenable, such as Intel and Monsanto; so this vote may have more to do with general discontent about Microsoft performance. Nevertheless, if Microsoft treats environmentalism as a luxury that it cannot afford, how many other major corporations are likely to make the same decision?