Lobbying Expenditures Disclosure
WHEREAS, we believe in full disclosure of UPS’s lobbying activities and expenditures to assess whether its lobbying is consistent with UPS’s expressed goals and in the best interests of shareowners.
RESOLVED: the shareowners of UPS request the Board prepare a report, updated annually, disclosing:
1. Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications.
2. Payments by UPS used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.
3. UPS’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
4. Description of management’s and the Board’s decision-making process and oversight for making payments described in sections 2 and 3 above
For purposes of this proposal, a “grassroots lobbying communication” is a communication directed to the general public that (a) refers to specific legislation or regulation, (b) reflects a view on the legislation or regulation and (c) encourages the recipient of the communication to take action with respect to the legislation or regulation. “Indirect lobbying” is lobbying engaged in by a trade association or other organization of which UPS is a member.
“Direct and indirect lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying communications” include efforts at the local, state and federal levels.
The report shall be presented to the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and posted on UPS’s website.
Supporting Statement: We encourage transparency in UPS’s use of funds to lobby. UPS spent $68.1 million from 2010 – 2019 on federal lobbying. This does not include state lobbying, where UPS also lobbies but disclosure is uneven or absent. For example, UPS had at least 122 lobbyists in 29 states in 2019 (followthemoney.org) and spent $1.7 million on lobbying in California from 2010 – 2019.
UPS sits on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, which has spent over $1.6 billion lobbying since 1998, and belongs to the Business Roundtable (BRT), which spent over $43 million on lobbying for 2018 and 2019. UPS does not disclose its memberships in, or payments to trade associations, or the amounts for lobbying.
And UPS does not disclose its membership in tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). UPS’s ALEC membership continues to draw scrutiny (https://www.prwatch.org/news/2020/05/13583/groups-call-alec%E2%80%99s-corporate-funders-cut-ties-over-its-coronavirus-lobbying). Over 110 companies have left ALEC, including ExxonMobil, Home Depot and Pepsi.
We are concerned that UPS’s seeming contradictions in public policy advocacy and limits in disclosure present reputational risks. For example, UPS signed the BRT Statement on the Purpose of the Corporation advocating socially responsible conduct, yet also attended the ALEC annual
conference. (https://readsludge.com/2019/08/27/these-ceos-promised-to-be-socially-responsible-but-their-companies-are-pushing-alecs-right-wing-agenda/). And UPS strongly supports efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change, yet the Chamber opposed the Paris climate accord. UPS uses the Global Reporting Initiative for sustainability reporting yet fails to report “any differences between its lobbying positions and any stated policies, goals, or other public positions” under Standard 415.
We urge UPS to expand its lobbying disclosure