Investors Urge AT&T To Reduce Health Hazards From Lead Batteries Used In Cell Phone Towers And Data Centers

Leading investors bring a shareholder proposal to a vote tomorrow urging AT&T to address health hazards in communities where batteries are manufactured and recycled.

Apr 25, 2013, 09:28 ET from Boston Common Asset Management

BOSTON, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T shareholders vote tomorrow on a proposal at the company's annual meeting calling for the adoption of a comprehensive policy to address the environmental and health impacts from manufacturing and recycling lead batteries. AT&T uses large numbers of lead batteries in the company's data centers, cell phone towers, and in other operations.

Leading investors including Boston Common Asset Management, Dignity Health, and First Affirmative Financial Network are asking AT&T to enact a policy to address the tons of lead batteries used in the company's supply chain. Given the serious environmental and health impacts over the life-cycle of lead batteries, similar shareholder proposals were brought to five additional companies including Amazon, AT&T, Google, IBM, and Verizon since November 2012.

Steven Heim, Managing Director at Boston Common Asset Management, states, "Battery recycling operations, especially outside the U.S., pose serious long-term health problems along with substantial legal risks for the company. We call on AT&T to assess where and how its lead acid batteries are acquired and recycled, and how environmental and safety standards compliance is being assured throughout their supply chain."

Batteries account for more than 80 percent of global lead consumption and the health effects of lead exposure are well known. Lead emissions around plants in Mexico are generally 20 times higher than comparable U.S. facilities. 

Susan Vickers, RSM, VP Community Health of Dignity Health, concludes, "As a healthcare system, we are extremely concerned about the long term health impacts of lead exposure from battery recycling in countries without robust environmental and safety standards in place."

The full press release and shareholder proposal can be found at:


Steven Heim

Lauren Compere

Boston Common Asset Management, LLC is an investment manager and a leader in global sustainability initiatives, specializing in long-only International equity, US equity, and US balanced strategies. Boston Common seeks sustainable, long-term capital appreciation by investing in diversified portfolios of what it believes are high-quality companies through rigorous analysis of financial, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. As shareowners, Boston Common urges companies to improve transparency, accountability, and attention to ESG issues.

SOURCE Boston Common Asset Management