3M (formerly the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co.) markets a diverse range of industrial and consumer products, ranging from Post-it® notes and Scotch® tape to bandages, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies.
2005 Resolution: ‘Give the Animals 5’
With the help of PETA supporters who held stock in 3M, a resolution was filed in the fall of 2004 calling on the company to “Give the Animals 5”—replace five crude and cruel animal tests with state-of-the-art and scientifically valid non-animal methods that were already in use in other countries.
Despite assurances that “3M acknowledges and encourages the use of alternatives to animals and subscribes to the recognized principles of replacement, reduction, and refinement,” the company opposed our resolution. Furthermore, 3M sought permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exclude our resolution from its proxy statement, arguing that it dealt with ordinary business matters that are not subject to a vote by stockholders. The SEC staff did not concur with any of the company’s arguments and ordered 3M to publish the PETA-sponsored resolution in its shareholder proxy materials.
PETA’s resolution was brought to a vote and received almost 14 million shares (2.9 percent).
2006 Resolution: Animal Welfare Policy
In 2006, PETA filed a resolution with 3M calling on the company to develop and make publicly accessible an animal welfare policy that would include reducing the numbers of animals used and ensuring that social and behavioral enrichment measures were implemented for the animals used both in-house and at contract testing laboratories.
The resolution was largely the result of the horrors uncovered in the independent contract testing laboratory Covance Inc., whose officials boasted that their clients included “just about every major company around the world.”
3M again challenged our resolution, partly on the grounds that the company would be unable to evaluate the animals’ needs. Again, the SEC ruled in PETA’s favor and ordered 3M to publish the PETA-sponsored resolution in its shareholder proxy materials. 3M published our resolution along with its opposition statement advising shareholders to vote against it.
Negotiations with 3M prior to the annual meeting resulted in withdrawal of the resolution when the company agreed to implement the proposal and work with PETA to reduce the number of animals used.