ESG Archive

Nov 07, 2018
SASB launches new materiality reporting framework
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) today launched its 77 industry-specific reporting standards for companies to disclose material environmental risks. SASB had previously issued provisional reporting standards that were adopted by a selection of companies – such as GM, Merck, Nike and JetBlue – and praised by investors for their focus on industry-spec...
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Nov 06, 2018
Demand for off-season meetings ‘highest ever,’ says SSGA’s Kumar
When Rakhi Kumar joined State Street Global Advisers (SSGA) in 2011, the notion of off-season engagement didn’t exist. But by mid-October this year, Kumar – who serves as SSGA’s senior managing director and head of ESG investments and asset management – says the demand for meetings is ‘the highest we’ve ever received’. In the week Corporate Secretary sister publication IR Magazine caught up with Kumar, she had received 25 requests from differ...
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Oct 08, 2018
Ten steps to strengthen your ESG engagement plan
As ESG considerations continue to swell, institutional investors globally are increasingly building coalitions and engaging with their portfolio companies to improve transparency and enact change on a broad range of ESG and sustainability-related issues. ESG communications specialists (typically working within investor relations, corporate communications or sustainability teams) should act now to stay on top of the rapidly changing developments in this area and more...
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Sep 27, 2018
SEC’s Peirce criticizes California board-diversity bill
A member of the SEC has criticized efforts to boost the number of women on the boards of Californian companies via legislation, arguing that it is an example of a focus by governments on non-shareholders. ‘Stakeholder is certainly in the top 10 list of words that get bandied about Washington… [The term] is so popular precisely because it is so elastic,’ commissioner Hester Peirce says in a recent speech. ‘In the corporate context, however, that elas...
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Sep 26, 2018
Why investors are targeting tobacco-free portfolios
The boardroom agendas of businesses across the globe are strikingly similar, despite each believing in their own distinct market proposition. Like much else, what’s on the agenda is subject to fads, the influence of others and external forces, sometimes unexpected and sometimes entirely predictable. Attempts to influence the agenda range from the overt (protestors with placards) to the public (a metric ton of coal delivered to the front door of a bank, for example...
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Sep 12, 2018
Opinion: Why workforce disclosure should be on the corporate agenda
While environmental risks and governance issues like boardroom excess and chairmanship have been on investors’ radars for years, it has taken a while for the trio of ESG factors to be rounded out. The ‘S’ has only recently come to greater prominence, as companies and investors identify social issues as factors to which they should be more alert – with headline issues including diversity, modern slavery and supply chain safety. Leading companies are already t...
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Sep 11, 2018
European companies dominate most-diverse rankings
US firms Gap and Bristol-Myers Squibb are the only non-European companies to make the top 10 in a list of the most diverse and inclusive companies in the world. European companies dominate Thomson Reuters’ Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Index, with Accenture, Novartis and Medtronic taking the top spots – although Medtronic’s operational headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thomson Reuters says investors are increasingly looking at how companies perfo...
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Aug 22, 2018
Ceres demands better corporate sustainability reporting
In 2008, the world was plunged into a financial crisis because investors made bad decisions on financial risks they didn’t fully understand. Ten years later, a new crisis is brewing. But this time, the risks are sustainability issues such as climate change, water scarcity and human rights abuses. The evidence is clear that sustainability risks affect the corporate bottom line. A recent study by the Universal Ecological Fund found that by 2028, climate change will ...
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Aug 21, 2018
SSGA's Kumar warns companies on ESG progress
Rakhi Kumar, global head of asset stewardship and ESG with State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), has warned that her firm’s patience is running out with portfolio companies that aren’t heeding the asset manger’s warnings on topics such as board diversity, refreshment and climate change. ‘Given that we started talking about some of these issues in 2011, it’s really difficult to have patience with companies at this point,’ Kumar says in an interview with Co...
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