Bed Bath & Beyond Executives to be Questioned Over Company's "Sustainability" Efforts
Shareholder to Request Answers About Effect of Green-Product Push on Consumers, Small Suppliers and Shareholders
Morristown, N.J. / Washington, D.C. - A representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research plans to question Bed Bath & Beyond's Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares about the retail store's push for potentially costly sustainability efforts during the company's annual shareholder meeting in Morristown, New Jersey on June 22.
Bed Bath & Beyond is a member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), one of the country's largest trade organizations, representing more than 200 companies and many of the largest American retail chains. RILA is currently pressuring its membership to adhere to the association's new sustainability policy. This policy directs retailers to reduce their "carbon footprint" through reduced "greenhouse gas" emissions. It also sets up adherence to sustainability standards that involves the possible redesign and rating of products.
To learn more about RILA's sustainability push, read here.
"'Sustainability' is the new buzz word in corporate America, but it lacks context and transparency," said National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof. "Bed Bath & Beyond executives have an obligation to explain to shareholders, suppliers and customers how much its green efforts are costing the company, and how much its products are marked up to cover those costs."
In addition to potentially harming consumers and shareholders, the company's sustainability goals may also negatively impact its suppliers. Under forced sustainability standards, suppliers will see their manufacturing costs necessarily skyrocket as they are forced to pay more for packaging, recyclable materials, "efficient" (i.e. expensive) energy use, staffing and compliance. Small suppliers, who cannot satisfy this new burden, may lose their competitiveness and go bankrupt.
When visiting Bed Bath & Beyond's corporate website, visitors are inundated with more than 6,000 empty words detailing the company's environmental and sustainability programs. What the website lacks is sufficient financial detail so investors and customers can know if these initiatives are helping or hurting the company's bottom line.
"Transparency is the key when making investment decisions. Bed Bath & Beyond executives should come clean with company shareholders and provide a straightforward accounting of all their sustainability efforts," said Danhof.
A copy of Justin Danhof's question, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Bed Bath & Beyond shareholder.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters. In 2011, it received over 350,000 individual donations. Two percent of its revenue comes from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.