The UUA often advocates for transparency in terms of political spending by corporations. We believe that when companies spend shareholder resources, that those shareholders deserve to fully understand what those resources are supporting. The UUA is leading or co-filing 7 different transparency resolutions during the 2017 proxy season to encourage companies to be fully transparent about lobbying and political spending. In fact, the UUA is partnering with The Center for Political Accountability to continue the push for additional disclosure.
The recent trend towards disclosure is a good first step, but generic disclosure isn’t enough. The pressure the UUA is applying with our shareholder advocacy isn’t just for generic disclosure, but for full and thoughtful disclosure.
We believe that it is more important now than ever to press for disclosure in order to ensure that shareholders are fully informed about the risk that holding shares in politically active companies entails. Shareholders can only avoid reputational risks associated with political advocacy if they are disclosed. Such disclosure is also a strong step towards avoiding corrupt practices that plague countries with weak regulatory environments, which are destructive to democratic and legal principles. Reinforcing civil society in the coming years will be an important way to maintain our cherished UU principles.