Minority Shareholders Target Sugar Use in Soft Drinks

April 19, 2021
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are being pressured by a shareholder advisory group to deal with the issue of excessive sugar in their products.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are being pressured by a shareholder advisory group to deal with the issue of excessive sugar in their products.

Harrington Investments, which describes itself as “a leader in Socially Responsible Investing,” is trying to get votes on measures to have a third party prepare a report on the health impact of increased sugar in the diet. The Coca-Cola resolution is due to be voted on April 24, while the resolution at PepsiCo is due up May 5. Both companies have urged a no vote in their shareholder proxies.

“The consumption of sugary beverages, such as some Coca-Cola products, contribute to a decline in public health, often leading to obesity, which in turn increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and increasingly compromised health conditions,” John Harrington, President and CEO of Harrington Investments, said in a statement.

Harrington Investments introduced the first such proposal to Coca-Cola shareholders in 2019. Votes have been edging upward, but the best performance was 11% last year at PepsiCo. Rules are being proposed that would limit the ability of minority shareholders to introduce resolutions.

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