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7-Business: Faith-based investment and governance organizations urge DuPont to disclose GMO information



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TITLE:  CBIS, ICCR Seek Support for DuPont Shareholder Resolution Urging
        Disclosure on Genetically Modified Organisms
SOURCE: Christian Brothers Investment Services, Interfaith Center on
        Corporate Responsibility, both USA
        http://www.cbisonline.com/page.asp?id=780
DATE:   23 Mar 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


CBIS, ICCR Seek Support for DuPont Shareholder Resolution Urging
Disclosure on Genetically Modified Organisms

Parallel Seen to DuPont's Teflon Debacle in Lack of Clear Safety Findings
for Food-Related Genetically Altered Agriculture, Sarbanes Oxley
Disclosure Obligation Asserted.

NEW YORK CITY//March 23, 2006///Concerned that DuPont may be going down
the same road that led to its current woes surrounding Teflon, Christian
Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (CBIS) is urging DuPont investors to
vote next month in favor of a shareholder resolution calling on the
company to meet its Sarbanes Oxley obligations to disclose any
potentially material risk or "off-balance sheet liability" that could be
posed by its manufacturing and distribution of food-related genetically
modified organisms (GMOs).

CBIS is the primary filer of the shareholder resolution to be voted on at
the DuPont annual meeting in late April 2006. A wide variety of
government, industry and scientific experts have raised concerns about
the lack of adequate testing and controls in place in relation to the
GMOs unleashed by DuPont and other firms. Recent reports also have raised
major health concerns - including increased incidence of allergies - that
could result from the introduction of GMOs into agriculture and the food
supply.

John K. S. Wilson, director of socially responsible investing at
Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc., said: "We are deeply
concerned that DuPont unknowingly may be sowing the seeds of risk for its
shareholders and the general public. A major issue here is the lack of
information regarding the safety of these products. We wish to avoid a
repeat of the Teflon controversy, which was brought about when DuPont
inaccurately asserted the safety of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) over
many decades. It is particularly important that the company conduct
independent assessments of GMO products already in the market so that
neither DuPont nor its shareholders are surprised if GMOs fail to live up
to DuPont's preliminary safety and environmental claims. At a minimum,
DuPont has an obligation under Sarbanes Oxley to start acknowledging to
its shareholders that there are valid concerns here about potential risks."

In addition to citing recent health concerns and regulatory problems with
GMOs, the CBIS resolution states: "Disclosure of material information is
a fundamental principle of our capital markets. Investors, their
confidence in corporate bookkeeping shaken, are starting to scrutinize
other possible 'off-balance sheet' liabilities, such as risks associated
with activities harmful to human health and the environment, that can
impact long-term shareholder value. SEC reporting requirements include
disclosure of environmental liabilities and of trends and uncertainties
that the company reasonably expects will have a material impact on
revenues. Public companies are now required to establish a system of
controls and procedures designed to ensure that financial information
required to be disclosed in SEC filings is recorded and reported in a
timely manner."

The CBIS resolution urges that DuPont's "board of directors review and
report to shareholders by the 2007 annual meeting on the company's
internal controls related to potential adverse impacts associated with
genetically modified organisms, including: reviewing the adequacy of
current post-marketing monitoring systems; retaining an independent
environmental expert to review the effectiveness of established risk
management processes; and examining possible impact on seed product
integrity."

Margaret Weber, coordinator of corporate responsibility, Adrian Dominican
Sisters and co-chair of the Water & Food Working Group of the Interfaith
Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), said: "In contrast to some
assertions that genetically engineered crops are simply the next
generation of crop breeding, this process is actually a severe
interruption of the ordinary natural process of breeding. There is no
global agreement that these products are 'substantially equivalent.'
Precaution would call, at a minimum, for post market monitoring for early
detection of negative health effects. Yet that is not possible in the
United States, the largest producer of these crops, because they are not
labeled as genetically engineered. Consumers who are highly sensitive to
allergens and public health officials have no method of monitoring health
impacts."

Leslie Lowe, director of ICCR's Environmental Justice and Water & Food
Working Groups, said:

"The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed by Congress in 2002, requires the CEO and
CFO of public companies to certify that the companies' financial
statements 'fairly present' their financial condition and results of
operations. In order to ensure that these certifications are meaningful,
Sarbanes-Oxley also requires that companies have appropriate 'internal
controls' over their financial reporting. Moreover, the Accounting
Oversight Board has made clear that these controls should include
'monitoring and risk assessment' of areas where, given the nature of the
company's operations, actual losses are reasonably possible."

Lowe added: "Proponents of this resolution believe it is reasonably
possible that genetically engineered (GE) products could cause
significant losses for the company. DuPont (and other biotech firms)
should, therefore, establish post-market monitoring systems for their GE
products. This would enable the company to act at the earliest moment
should problems arise and it would reassure investors that the company
actually knows whether its operations result in adverse impacts for which
the company may be liable."

In outlining the potential risks surrounding DuPont GMOs, the CBIS
resolution notes: "'Gone to Seed' [from the Union of Concerned
Scientists] reports that genetically engineered DNA is contaminating U.S.
traditional seed stocks of corn, soybeans and canola, and that if left
unchecked could disrupt agricultural trade, unfairly burden the organic
foods industry, and allow hazardous materials into the food supply ...
Insurers in Germany, the UK and elsewhere are refusing liability coverage
for genetically engineered (GE) crops, demonstrating heightened concern
about the long-term safety of GE crops."

ABOUT THE GROUPS

Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (http://www.cbisonline.com)
manages more than $4 billion, combining faith and finance in the
responsible stewardship of Catholic financial assets. CBIS' combination
of premier institutional asset managers, diversified product offerings,
and careful risk-control strategies constitutes a unique investment
approach for Catholic institutions and their fiduciaries. CBIS strives to
integrate faith-based values into the investment process through a
disciplined approach to socially responsible investing that includes
principled purchasing (stock screens), active ownership strategies (proxy
voting, dialogues, and shareholder resolutions) and community investment.
The firm contributes a portion of all profits to support the Church's
educational and social ministry.

For over thirty years the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
(http://www.iccr.org) has been a leader of the corporate social
responsibility movement. ICCR's membership is an association of 275
faith- based institutional investors, including national denominations,
religious communities, pension funds, endowments, hospital corporations,
economic development funds and publishing companies. ICCR and its members
press companies to be socially and environmentally responsible. Each year
ICCR- member religious institutional investors sponsor over 100
shareholder resolutions on major social and environmental issues. The
combined portfolio value of ICCR's member organizations is estimated to
be $110 billion.

CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell at (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.






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