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Icahn takes on index funds in McDonald's pig battle

Kimberly Chin
Apr 21, 2022
Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Carl Icahn is calling on fellow McDonald’s shareholders to rally around his animal welfare cry.

Why it matters: The billionaire activist investor -- while taking jabs at the world's largest asset managers-- is asking the same shareholders to back his cause to end the practice of putting pregnant pigs in crates, and to add two of his candidates to the board.

Of note: With their immense influence, the largest index providers "must stop subjectively selecting which ESG principles are important," he said in the letter.

  • "It is unacceptable and irresponsible that major asset managers have put such little emphasis on animal welfare in their stewardship and voting guidelines."
  • He added that this election contest is their chance "to take a stand for animal welfare and other important ESG issues.

Driving the news: Icahn has said before that McDonald’s has failed to adequately preside over animal welfare violations in its supply chain, thus making its ESG agenda ring hollow.

  • His candidates are strong ESG proponents that will “champion animal welfare as vigorously as other issues.”

Context: Climate change and broader environmental topics have become a bigger focus for investors. In last year’s proxy season through June 30, 20% of environmental and social proposals that went to vote received majority support, up from 12% in the prior year’s season, according to EY.

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