Conduct due diligence, audit or risk/impact assessment
- Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)
Type of vote
Company HQ country
RESOLVED that shareholders of Valero Energy Corporation (“Valero”) urge the Board of Directors to oversee an independent third-party racial equity audit analyzing Valero’s impacts on nonwhite stakeholders and communities of color and Valero’s plans, if any, to mitigate those impacts. Input from civil rights organizations, experts on environmental racism, and employees should be considered in determining the specific matters to be analyzed. A report on the audit, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential and proprietary information, should be publicly disclosed on Valero’s website.
High-profile police killings of black people have galvanized the movement for racial justice. That movement, and the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic, have focused public attention on systemic racism, environmental racism, racialized violence and inequities in employment, health care, and the criminal justice system.
Several aspects of Valero’s business and operations suggest that a racial equity audit would be useful. In 2020, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that a Valero subsidiary had used selection processes with an adverse impact on nonwhite applicants.1
Valero’s Environmental Justice Policy Statement asserts that Valero “strives to operate as a good neighbor, and looks for opportunities to work with local officials and directly with fence line neighbors to improve the quality of life for neighbors and communities.”2 But Valero has come under fire for polluting communities of color. Residents have fought to limit a Texas refinery’s emissions of hydrogen cyanide, a neurotoxin, in Latinx neighborhoods.3 The neighborhood in which another Texas refinery is located, which is 90% African American, "ranks above the 95th percentile nationally for for both the EPA’s air toxics cancer risk and respiratory hazard metrics.”4
Valero ranks as the 39th worst toxic air polluter in the U.S., and 64% of those affected are nonwhite.5 It ranks as the 62nd worst water polluter6 and the 24th worst greenhouse gas polluter.7 As You Sow’s Racial Justice Scorecard for S&P 500 companies placed Valero in the bottom 10, with negative scores on the environmental racism performance indicators, meaning that it harms communities of color more than benefits them.8
A racial equity audit could also examine whether Valero’s political activities have a negative racial impact. In 2018, Valero helped defeat Washington State’s carbon tax initiative, giving nearly $1 million to the No on 1631 campaign.9 In 2019, Valero and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (“AFPM”), to which Valero belongs,10 lobbied states to criminalize pipeline protests;11 AFPM also supports rolling back fuel efficiency standards.12 Reportedly, Valero contributed $192,000 during the 2020 election cycle to Members of Congress who objected to certifying the 2020 election results,13 an action some viewed as “a direct attack on the voting rights of people of color.”14
Finally, an independent audit would provide objectivity, assurance and specialized expertise beyond what would be possible with an internal analysis.
2 https://s23.q4cdn.com/587626645/files/doc_downloads/2021/09/Environmental-Justice-Policy- Statement.pdf
3 https://www.sierraclub.org/texas/blog/2020/08/houston-community-continues-fight-against-valero- for-polluting-air-hydrogen
8 https://www.asyousow.org/press-releases/2021/8/11/environmental-racism-metrics-as-you-sow- racial-justice-scorecard
9 https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/10/26/18026074/koch-industries-bp-colorado- washington-fracking-carbon-tax
10 https://esg.investorvalero.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/July-2020- June2021_Member_Organizations_Report_DRAFT_08272021.pdf
12 https://influencemap.org/influencer/American-Fuel-Petrochemical-Manufacturers- cacc951ea59addfcc713fbb359e2680c
14 See https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/15/us/politics/lankford-apology-election-biden.html; https://www.marketwatch.com/story/business-leaders-call-for-action-on-trump-after-mob-siege-at- capitol-11609976655