10.02% votes in favour
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
Resolution details
Company ticker
Resolution ask
Adopt or amend a policy
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Human rights
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Health Care
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED, that shareholders of Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly” or the “Company”) urge the board of directors to adopt a comprehensive human rights policy, referencing internationally recognized human rights standards, that applies to both its own operations and its suppliers that includes the right to health and establishes a process to identify, prevent, mitigate, and remedy adverse human rights impacts, above and beyond supplier audits. 
Supporting statement
Supporting Statement Lilly currently has a code of conduct (the “Code”) applicable to its suppliers, which refers to nondiscrimination and “uphold[ing] the human and employment rights of workers” and includes Lilly’s expectation that suppliers will “abstain from procuring materials from all conflict areas or sources including the Democratic Republic of Congo.” 1 Similarly, the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (“PSCI”) Principles, 2 a link to which appears on Lilly’s website, includes an expectation that suppliers respect workplace human rights. Neither the Code nor PSCI Principles references any internationally recognized human rights standards, nor do they apply to Lilly’s own business and operations, just those of its suppliers.
 Although the human rights of workers mentioned in the Code and PSCI Principles are important, we believe that a global pharmaceutical firm like Lilly must also commit to respect the human right to health. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”) states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including . . . medical care.” 3 Article 12.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (“ICESCR”) “recognize[s] the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” 4 
Target 3.8 of Sustainable Development Goal 3 assesses progress toward “access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.” 5 Insulin has been on the World Health Organization’s essential medicines list since 1977.6 The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health has made clear that responsibility for increasing access to medicines is shared between states and pharmaceutical firms7 and recommends that firms “should adopt a human rights policy statement which expressly recognises the importance of human rights generally, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health in particular.” 8 Novartis has done so, adopting a human rights commitment statement that incorporates the right to health, including access to medicine, and references the UDHR and ICRSCR.9 
A process to identify, prevent, mitigate, and remedy adverse human rights impacts–”human rights due diligence”–is a key part of a comprehensive human rights policy. The Code makes no mention of how Lilly evaluates and enforces suppliers’ compliance with the Code’s vague expectations, aside from a reporting hotline. The PSCI Principles contemplate supplier audits, 10 whose effectiveness has been questioned.11 Including a human rights due diligence process in its human rights policy, as Novartis has done, 12 would enable Lilly to identify potential impacts before they occur, track its human rights performance, and embed human rights in its operations. 
1 https://assets.ctfassets.net/srys4ukjcerm/1Y51D0izDLx03DFP1mlZps/eaaa5bbc50251e48ff3a020f0e81e6a5/Lilly_SC oBC_2021_EN.pdf
2 https://pscinitiative.org/principles
3 https://www.ohchr.org/en/human-rights/universal-declaration/translations/english
4 www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/international-covenant-economic-social-and-cultural-rights; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605313/
5 www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_70_1_E.pdf
6 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(21)00322-3/fulltext
7 https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/519/97/PDF/N0651997.pdf?OpenElement, paras. 82-93.      
8 https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Health/GuidelinesForPharmaceuticalCompanies.doc
9 https://www.novartis.com/sites/novartiscom/files/novartis-human-rights-commitment-statement.pdf 
10 https://pscinitiative.org/sharedAudits 
11 https://www.ajsosteniblebcn.cat/human-rights-due-diligence-in-global-supply-chains_28919.pdf, at 14, https://shiftproject.org/resource/from-audit-to-innovation-advancing-human-rights-in-global-supply-chains/ 
12 https://www.novartis.com/sites/novartiscom/files/novartis-human-rights-commitment-statement.pdf  

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Kutxabank Gestion SGIIC SAU. Against

DISCLAIMER: By including a shareholder resolution or management proposal in this database, neither the PRI nor the sponsor of the resolution or proposal is seeking authority to act as proxy for any shareholder; shareholders should vote their proxies in accordance with their own policies and requirements.

Any voting recommendations set forth in the descriptions of the resolutions and management proposals included in this database are made by the sponsors of those resolutions and proposals, and do not represent the views of the PRI.

Information on the shareholder resolutions, management proposals and votes in this database have been obtained from sources that are believed to be reliable, but the PRI does not represent that it is accurate, complete, or up-to-date, including information relating to resolutions and management proposals, other signatories’ vote pre-declarations (including voting rationales), or the current status of a resolution or proposal. You should consult companies’ proxy statements for complete information on all matters to be voted on at a meeting.