20 November 2002.

 

Freedom of Expression as Corporate Responsibility

In October, 2002, shareholders Cisco Systems, Inc, the world's major manufacturer of internet routers, were asked to vote on the proposal to make Cisco examine whether its products are being used to stifle free expression in repressive countries. It is a historic vote because no shareholder proposal had ever been put to a vote to Cisco stockholders before. In presenting the proposal to the stockholders in Silicon Valley, Visual Artists Guild's chair, Ann Lau, told the stock owners, "As a global company, Cisco needs to act responsibly as a global citizen." Although her proposal failed by a 25-to-1 ratio, her proposal garnered enough votes so she can re-submit it again.

Cisco Shareholders also turned down a proposal that would have required the company to list equipment sold to governments or state-run companies that can block, record or monitor Internet traffic. Shareholder Ann Lau of Los Angeles wrote the proposal to make Cisco examine whether its products are being used to stifle free expression in repressive countries.

"As a global company, Cisco needs to act responsibly as a global citizen," she told stock owners. Her proposal failed by a 25-to-1 ratio.    (taken from SFGate.com click here )

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