You may remember last year we wrote about the Tesco AGM, and Ben Birnberg’s resolution to commit Tesco to ethical trading. It was the first time an independent shareholder has got a motion onto the table at a Tesco AGM, and it was an important piece of shareholder activism.
Tesco’s AGM is coming round again, and this time there’s another resolution in the works, from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. We covered his ‘Chicken Out‘ campaign in the new year, and it’s still going. Having made some progress in stocking free range chicken with all the supermarkets except the largest, Tesco, Hugh has bought shares and gathered enough other shareholders to pass a resolution. Under this resolution, Tesco would have to vastly improve its chicken farming practices. It is doing everything it can to keep it off the agenda.
Most importantly, they have asked that the Chicken Out campaign pays the costs to distribute advance copies of the resolution to all the shareholders. That’s a lot of postage, to the tune of £86,888. The Chicken Out campaign needs to find that money by wednesday.
If you watched Hugh’s Chicken Run in January, care about animal welfare, or if you’re interested in corporate responsibility and holding Tesco to account, you can help raise that 86 grand in a couple of different ways. You can give directly here, through Compassion in World Farming, or you can bid for prizes here.
Tesco’s vast profits are made, in part, by working to the absolute lowest human and animal welfare standards they can get away with, whether that be sweatshop clothes, desperate developing world smallholders, oppressed UK farmers, factory farmed pigs, or broilerhouse chickens. The AGM is the one real legal mechanism we have for holding corporations accountable, because as long as they remain within the law they’re ultimately only accountable to shareholders. Whether you’re a Tesco shareholder or not, please help provoke a crisis of conscience in the UK’s largest corporation by forcing them to talk in public about animal welfare.
::Update:: The campaign has hit their fundraising target. Thanks to everyone who got involved. We’ll keep you posted on progress.