Mastercard shareholders call for governance overhaul to address risks related to far-right extremism

April 30, 2019

International consumer watchdog SumOfUs has filed a shareholder resolution proposing that Mastercard establish a committee on human rights, to address the threat posed by far-right extremists.

The resolution highlights that extremists like Tommy Robinson and known far-right hate groups use Mastercard, but none of the company’s existing board committees have responsibility for overseeing human rights issues. Shareholders argue that this leaves the company exposed to risk on human rights.

Mastercard mounted a failed legal challenge to prevent the proposal appearing on ballot papers. Shareholders will, therefore, have the opportunity to vote on the resolution at the company’s AGM, taking place on June 25, 2019, at Mastercard Incorporated in Purchase, New York.

>> View the resolution in full here:

Eoin Dubsky, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs, said: “We know that Mastercard currently accepts credit card payments to several dangerous hate groups and extremists like Tommy Robinson. This proves that its executives cannot currently manage the human rights risks associated with the business.

“We were alarmed when the corporation mounted a legal challenge against our resolution. It would have done better to put the time and resources spent on fighting our proposal into addressing legitimate concerns that its consumers, employees and shareholders have about human rights.

“As we’ve seen to such devastating effect in recent months, gone unchecked, hate speech has terrible consequences for innocent people. We look to all corporations to play their part in ensuring their services and products aren’t used to sow the seeds of discrimination, hatred and violence. It is essential that companies like Mastercard have the policies and processes in place to deal effectively with hate speech and human rights abuses.”