Thursday, June 5, 2008

Best Buy launches recycling program in response to shareholder proposal

BestBuy AsYouSow

[Liedtke, Michael. "Best Buy testing free e-waste recycling program," San Francisco Gate, 2 June 2008.]

Here's an interesting story on how shareholder engagement can impact corporate policy without even bringing a resolution to vote:

"Under pressure to help dispose some of the electronic waste it helped create, Best Buy Co. is testing a free program that will offer consumers a convenient way to ensure millions of obsolescent TVs, old computers and other unwanted gadgets don't poison the nation's dumps.

"The trial announced Monday covers 117 Best Buy stores scattered across eight states that will collect a wide variety of electronic detritus at no charge, even if the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer didn't originally sell the merchandise.

"The pilot stores are in Best Buy's Northern California, Minneapolis and Baltimore markets, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

"Depending on how the test goes, the nation's largest electronics retailer may expand the recycling program to all of its 922 stores in the United States. As it is, Best Buy's test is believed to be the most extensive free electronics recycling program to be offered by a major retailer so far.

"Best Buy agreed to set up the recycling trial after a social responsibility group, As You Sow, submitted a proposal that would have asked the company's shareholders to endorse an electronics recycling program. As You Sow withdrew the proposal after Best Buy indicated it was already exploring ways to expand its existing recycling programs."

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