Google Inc. (Alphabet Inc.) | Human rights assessment of data center siting at Google Inc. (Alphabet Inc.)

AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
Resolution details
Company ticker
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Human rights
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Resolved: Shareholders request the Board of Directors commission a report assessing the siting of Google Cloud Data Centers in countries of significant human rights concern, and the Company’s strategies for mitigating the related impacts. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential and proprietary information, should be published on the Company’s website within six months of the 2023 shareholders meeting.
Whereas clause
Supporting Statement:
Shareholders are concerned by Alphabet’s announced plans to expand data center operations in locations reported by the US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices to present significant human rights violations. 
These include Jakarta, Indonesia where government opponents face prison for insulting the president or government officials online; Doha, Qatar where security forces interrogate social media users for tweets critical of government officials; and Delhi, India where the government frequently orders internet shutdowns and where Google’s Transparency report showed a 69% increase in government requests for user data in 2019 and an additional 50% by 2021.. 
Of particular concern is the plan to locate a Google Cloud Data Center in Saudi Arabia. The US State Department Country Report details the highly restrictive Saudi control of all internet activities and   pervasive government surveillance, arrest, and prosecution of online activity. Human rights activists have reliably reported that “Saudi authorities went so far as to recruit internal Twitter employees in the US to extract personal information and spy on private communications of exiled Saudi activists.” Given this history and  use of spyware to violate privacy rights of dissidents, the choice to locate here is particularly troubling.  
In response to human rights activists, our company stated that “an independent human rights assessment was conducted for the Google Cloud Region in Saudi Arabia, and Google took steps to address matters identified as part of that review.” Despite our company’s declaration that “Transparency is core to our commitment to respect human rights,” neither the Company's human rights assessment for Saudi Arabia nor the resulting actions have been made public.
Alphabet’s Human Rights Policy notes that:
In everything we do, including launching new products and expanding our operations around the globe, we are guided by internationally recognized human rights standards. Yet, the company's decisions of siting cloud data centers in human rights hot spots occur behind closed doors, without the promised transparency. A report sufficient to fulfill the proposal’s essential objectives  would examine the scope, implementation, and robustness of the company’s human rights due diligence processes on siting of cloud computing operations. It would assess, with an eye toward the the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the standards established in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and in the Global Network Initiative Principles (GNI Principles), the priorities and potential impacts on people, any mitigating actions, any tracking of outcomes, and whether the company identifies and engages rights-holders to ensure its human rights efforts are well informed. 

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Dana Investment Advisors For
Anima Sgr For As further disclosure on the company's human rights due diligence process for siting its data centers would address shareholder concerns regarding ongoing risk in high-risk countries and help shareholders to comprehensively assess how the company is managing human rights-related risks in its value chain.
EFG Asset Management For
VidaCaixa For
Kutxabank Gestion SGIIC SAU. Against

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