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A Strategic Response to Investor Activism

How can a corporate executive balance social and economic pressures when social activists and corporate investors are the same people? This is the quandary Amoco Corporation faced when investors repeatedly filed proxy resolutions requesting adoption of the Valdez Principles, ten environmental principles developed by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES). The author describes the evolution of the relationship between CERES and Amoco. He shows how Amoco responded strategically to investor activism with corporate activism. He also discusses the three factors determining a company's response to investor activism: the firm's culture, the power and influence of the group filing the resolution, and the political climate in which the resolution is filed. Ultimately, responding to investor activism becomes an important aspect of integrating political strategy into competitive strategy.

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