America may run on Dunkin’, but Comptroller Tom DiNapoli would like the donut chain to leave a smaller footprint.
Mr. DiNapoli is able to put pressure on corporations due to his role managing the state pension fund. According to his office, the fund has about $1.9 million in shares of Dunkin’ Donuts among its investments and Mr. DiNapoli issued a shareholder resolution asking the coffee and pastry company to address the environmental concerns of palm oil production. In exchange for Mr. DiNapoli withdrawing the resolution, Dunkin’ Brands Group will upgrade its palm oil usage all the way up to 100 percent “sustainable” palm oil–that is, collected from producers who meet certain environmental standards.
“Dunkin’ Brands should be commended for taking the necessary steps to use only sustainably harvested palm oil in its products,” Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement. “Consumers may not realize that many of the foods and cosmetics they eat and use contain palm oil that has been harvested in ways that are severely detrimental to the environment. Shareholder value is enhanced when companies take steps to address the risks associated with environmental practices that promote climate change.”
Mr. DiNapoli won similar palm oil battles with the Sara Lee Corporation in 2010 and J.M. Smucker Company in 2012.