Target stakeholders stage revolt over MN Forward donations


Three investment funds who, together, own $57.5 million in Target stock are pushing for the company to establish a review process for future political donations to make sure the company keeps itself out of any new scandals.

The shareholder resolution (posted by MinnPost’s David Brauer, and first reported by the Star Tribune and the Associated Press) filed by Trillium Asset Management, Calvert Investments, and Walden Asset Management calls for senior management to consider how endorsing a candidate with donations may conflict with “Target’s publicly expressed values.” The resolution also implies that managers should err on the side of protecting Target’s brand, regardless of any “hoped-for benefits,” like tax breaks, that could come from supporting particular candidates.

The three investment management companies are part of a growing crowd of “socially-responsible investors,” who seek to leverage their holdings in companies to effect change their corporate policies to benefit causes like social justice or protecting the environment. What the resolution does not do, however, is call for a ban on donations that violate Target’s stated values, so management is allowed to continue donation to foes of LGBT equality, so long as they think they can get away with it.