Tesla shareholders demand more from society

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The silent uprising of Tesla shareholders

Hello and have a good Wednesday. Tesla Inc. is releasing its third quarter results today, and CEO Elon Musk could keep his promise to skip the call, which would be a first. “I won’t be making income calls by default anymore,” Musk said in July. “I think in the future I probably won’t be on results calls unless I have something really important to say.”

Tesla has been on a roll lately: Strong third quarter vehicle deliveries despite the chip shortage saw the stock turn higher. Tesla’s market value is around $ 875 billion – a trillion dollar valuation no longer seems impossible.

Before it gets lost in the noise, I want to come back to the annual meeting of shareholders on October 7. The big news was that Tesla was moving its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas. In the midst of this development, shareholders voted on nine proposals: four from management and five from investors.

Directors James Murdoch and Kimbal Musk were both re-elected to the board of directors. Murdoch got around 70% of the vote while Kimbal Musk got around 80%, according to the 8-K Tesla filed days later. These are clear and winning margins, but not exactly either, especially since Elon Musk is by far the largest shareholder.

Tesla director James Murdoch

Photographer: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images North America

Proposal 5 – a non-binding shareholder proposal that would reduce the term of directors to one year – was adopted. Proposal 6, a non-binding proposal that requires Tesla to publish additional reports on diversity and inclusion efforts, was also approved.

Kimberly Stokes, Vice President and Corporate Engagement Strategist for Calvert Research and Management, presented Proposal 6. She highlighted a key point: Although Tesla does publish statistics on diversity, it has yet to go public. its EEO-1 data. An EEO-1 report is a complete breakdown of the workforce by race and gender in 10 job categories; this data is already collected and provided to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The fact that Calvert got his proposal passed on the first try is a sign of how seriously investors take diversity – they want real action and transparency.

“As investors, we need data,” Stokes said when I met her after Tesla filed for its 8-K. “EEO-1 is something companies are up to anyway. It is not as if we are imposing a burden.

Nia Impact Capital, an Oakland, Calif. Based social investment fund that owns Tesla shares, first asked Tesla to report on employee arbitration in 2020. The proposal failed, with around 27 % voices. Nia brought the arbitration proposal back this year. He got 45% of the vote, still not enough to pass but a significant change in sentiment in a year.

Recent headlines may have played a part in this change. Tesla paid more than a million dollars to Melvin Berry, a former black worker who secured a ruling that the company did not stop its supervisors from calling it the ‘N word’ at the Tesla factory in Fremont, in arbitration. More recently, a federal jury in San Francisco ruled in favor of Owen Diaz, a former contractor who suffered racial taunts and offensive graffiti. The jury wants Tesla to pay an unprecedented amount of $ 137 million in damages. And these are just the cases we’ve written about: Not everyone has the resources – emotional or financial – to pursue litigation.

Tesla has matured as a business. It has around 100,000 employees worldwide and is close to completing new factories in Austin and Berlin. He joined the S&P 500 at the end of last year. It finally released its very first diversity report in December 2020.

Now its shareholder base demands more from the company and is starting to earn. Whether this marks a radical change or a quiet revolt remains to be seen. Much will depend on Tesla’s response: Tesla could release its EEO-1 data today, if it wanted to.

Musk’s control over Tesla, as CEO and largest shareholder, has always been a big deal. But if he sells some of his stock, whether for tax purposes or to honor his $ 50 million pledge to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, his iron grip won’t be so tight. This could make future shareholder resolutions more interesting.

Before you leave

concerns Tesla shareholders who demand more from the company

Oonee founder Shabazz Stuart in one of the company’s bike parks.

Photographer: Misha Friedman

Bike parking startup Oonee is expanding its footprint in New York City, recently hitting a Partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Association, which brings the company’s pods to Grand Central Station. That’s a big step, as founder Shabazz Stuart noted on Twitter, given the size of the city’s metro and commuter train network – 472 metro stations and 248 train stations. Ira Boudway wrote about the Brooklyn-based startup and its work to try to solve an old problem in February. Making space available for cyclists to park their wheels safely is generally considered to be a cost that workplaces / universities / cities shoulder as a benefit for employees / students/ taxpayers. And Tweight is a widespread and growing concern. The opportunity is great, if Oonee can make his model work.


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