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Netflix shareholders copied and pasted a proposal they'd already sent to Amazon — and Netflix called them out

  • Netflix released its latest proxy statement
  • Proposal 7 asks Amazon to compile a report on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.
Mark Neuling | CNBC
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.

Netflix shareholders want the company to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. A lofty goal — except for the fact that their request was directed at the wrong company.

The proposal asks "Amazon.com" — one of Netflix's fiercest rivals — for a report that evaluates the feasibility of achieving "net-zero" fossil fuel emissions by 2030. Netflix's board didn't let the typo go unacknowledged. It was essentially the corporate equivalent of being called by the name of your partner's ex, and Netflix was having none of it:

"...[T]his proposal is not targeted at any specific policies or practices of the Company. The proposal asks 'the Board of Directors of Amazon.Com, Inc.' to prepare this report. The Board believes that this proposal, cut-and-pasted from one company to another, was not drafted in and is not focused on the best interests of Netflix or its stockholders."

"For the foregoing reasons, the Board unanimously believes that this proposal is not in the best interests of Netflix or our stockholders, and recommends that you vote 'AGAINST' Proposal Seven."

The request was part of the company's regulatory filings for its annual shareholder meeting, where major stockholders can vote on executive compensation, board members and changes to the company's bylaws. Netflix's board also said the report would be an unnecessary distraction, given that the company relies on energy from renewable sources, and its footprint is largely carbon neutral.

Requests related to sustainability have appeared Amazon's proxy statements for the past couple of years, though the proposal doesn't appear to be exactly the same. Still, the confusion is understandable: While Amazon is known for its flourishing e-commerce platform, some analysts reckon it is in a spending war with Netflix when it comes to streaming services.

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