Non-profit

Benedictine Sisters of Boerne

Location:

Boerne, TX

Type:

Nonprofit

Formation:

1962

Prioress:

Sister Frances Briseño OSB

Benedictine Sisters of Boerne is a religious organization that has been heavily involved in left-of-center corporate engagement since 1982. The Sisters joined the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) in 1990, and are a founding member of the Texas Coalition for Responsible Investment (CRI).

The Sisters have filed resolutions with companies such as Caterpillar, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Valero Energy, McDonald’s, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, and CVS Health Corp. The resolutions submitted to these companies include requests for workforce diversity reports, demands for the elimination of antibiotics in livestock, and the adoption of a 2-degree Celsius or less target for climate change, among other things. [1]

The Sisters were also outspoken about their disapproval in the Trump administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program enacted unilaterally by the Obama administration to grant legal status to certain illegal immigrants. [2]

History

The Catholic religious order of Benedictine Sisters established a center at Boerne, Texas in 1962. The original focus of the group was Catholic education outreach, and later expanded to include spiritual and health programs in Boerne. Along with the establishment of the Omega Retreat Center and the Health and Wholeness Center, the Sisters established other programs that are now separate non-profit organizations. These include the liberal state-level policy group Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), the PEACE Initiative (Putting an End to Abuse Through Community Efforts), and the Juvenile Outreach Vocational Educational Network (JOVEN). [3]

In 1982, the Benedictine Sisters of Boerne began their efforts in corporate responsibility. The Sisters are a founding member of the Texas Coalition for Responsible Investment (CRI). After joining the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) in 1990, the Sisters started their own corporate responsibility program, and in 2003, established the Benedictine Coalition for Responsible Investment.  There are currently ten Benedictine monasteries monitoring their investment portfolios. [4]

Since 1982, the Sisters have used their stock ownership to file resolutions with corporations, on issues including human rights, executive compensation and diversity, the environment, health care, and energy policy. [5]

Corporate Engagement

Sister Susan Mika is the Director of the Benedictine Sisters’ Corporate Responsibility Program. Mika also works with the Benedictine Coalition for Responsible Investment, which is made up of 18 Benedictine monasteries and several other congregations.

In 2016, the Coalition successfully pushed McDonald’s to eliminate antibiotics in their chicken, and in 2018 pushed the company to eliminate antibiotics in their beef. [6] In response, McDonald’s created a policy that would eliminate medically important antibiotics in their supply chain animals, limiting the options available to sick animals. [7]

In 2018, the Sisters submitted a shareholder proposal to Home Depot, urging the company to provide a report on the diversity of its workforce. The proposal received 48% support, after a similar 2017 proposal received 33.65% support. The Sisters have been filing resolutions for over seventeen years with Home Depot, asking for their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data. [8]

The Sisters submitted numerous other shareholder proposals in 2018, which include:

  • Caterpillar was presented with a proposal that would require human rights expertise for new board of director nominees. The resolution received 4.8% support. [9]
  • A proposal was submitted to Exxon Mobil demanding a report disclosing the company’s lobbying expenditures, especially as it relates to environmentalism, which received 26.2% support. [10]
  • The Sisters were among more that thirty groups, all members of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, who co-filed a resolution with Exxon in 2017. This resolution asks the company to agree to the 2-degree Celsius or less climate change target which was adopted in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. [11]
  • The Sisters submitted a proposal to Chevron asking the company to adopt a policy of not doing business with governments complicit in genocide, which received 7.3% support. [12]

Several proposals were submitted, and later withdrawn, including ones to Valero Energy, Johnson & Johnson, and CVS Health Corp. [13]

Immigration Issues

The Sisters published a letter announcing their disapproval in the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Obama administration’s unilateral Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legalization program for certain illegal immigrants. [14]

Leadership

Sister Susan Mika is the Executive Director of the Socially Responsible Investment Coalition. Sister Mika has previously served on the Global Corporate Accountability Steering Committee of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, [15] and was the executive director of the Texas Coalition for Responsible Investment. She helped establish the Benedictine Coalition for Responsible Investment (CRI),[16] and the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras (CJM), which concerns itself with pollution and worker safety issues in factories along the U.S.-Mexico border. [17]

References

  1. “SRIC Annual Report.” Socially Responsible Investment Coalition, July 2018. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://sric-south.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SRIC-Annual-Report-07.17.18-Final-compressed.pdf. ^
  2. “In Response to Terminating DACA.” Boerne Benedictines. Accessed December 14, 2019.  http://boernebenedictines.org/daca.html. ^
  3. “Our History.” Boerne Benedictines, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2019. http://boernebenedictines.org/community-our-history.html. ^
  4. “Sponsored Ministries.” Boerne Benedictines, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2019.  http://boernebenedictines.org/ministry-sponsored.html. ^
  5. “Ways to Give.” Boerne Benedictines, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2019. http://boernebenedictines.org/ways-to-give.html. ^
  6. Stockman, Dan. “Q & A with Sr. Susan Mika, Pushing McDonalds to Remove Antibiotics from its Beef.” Global Sisters Report, November 19, 2019. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/opinion/q-sr-susan-mika-pushing-mcdonalds-remove-antibiotics-its-beef. ^
  7. Polansek, Tom. “McDonald’s to Curb Antibiotic Use in its Beef Supply.” Reuters, December 11, 2018. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mcdonalds-antibiotics/mcdonalds-to-curb-antibiotic-use-in-its-beef-supply-idUSKBN1OA299. ^
  8. “SRIC Annual Report.” Socially Responsible Investment Coalition, July 2018. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://sric-south.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SRIC-Annual-Report-07.17.18-Final-compressed.pdf. ^
  9. “SRIC Annual Report.” Socially Responsible Investment Coalition, July 2018. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://sric-south.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SRIC-Annual-Report-07.17.18-Final-compressed.pdf. ^
  10. “SRIC Annual Report.” Socially Responsible Investment Coalition, July 2018. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://sric-south.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SRIC-Annual-Report-07.17.18-Final-compressed.pdf. ^
  11. Wokaty, Julie. “Faith Investors Mobilize to Press Exxon Mobil to Address Climate Change.” Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, May 30, 2107. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://www.iccr.org/faith-investors-mobilize-press-exxonmobil-address-climate-change. ^
  12. “SRIC Annual Report.” Socially Responsible Investment Coalition, July 2018. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://sric-south.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SRIC-Annual-Report-07.17.18-Final-compressed.pdf. ^
  13. “SRIC Annual Report.” Socially Responsible Investment Coalition, July 2018. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://sric-south.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SRIC-Annual-Report-07.17.18-Final-compressed.pdf. ^
  14. “In Response to Terminating DACA.” Boerne Benedictines. Accessed December 14, 2019.  http://boernebenedictines.org/daca.html. ^
  15. “Sister Susan Mika.” Texas Legacy Project. Accessed December 14, 2019. http://texaslegacy.org/narrator/sister-susan-mika/. ^
  16. “Sister Susan Mika.” Boerne Benedictines. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://www.boernebenedictines.com/team_member/sister-susan-mika/. ^
  17. “Sister Susan Mika.” Texas Legacy Project. Accessed December 14, 2019. http://texaslegacy.org/narrator/sister-susan-mika/. ^
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Benedictine Sisters of Boerne

216 W. Highland Dr.
Boerne, TX