ESG Archive

Jan 28, 2020
Behind NorthWestern Energy's DIY proxy statement
As proxy statements continue to evolve into glossier, more visually engaging publications, the number of people involved can increase – as can budgets. But for NorthWestern Energy that isn’t an option. The two-person corporate secretary team is responsible for drafting the language, gathering the data and drawing the charts, says Tim Olson, senior corporate counsel and corporate secretary at the company. Olson says he and his colleague Emily Larkin, assistant co...
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Jan 28, 2020
How award winner Mehlman handles governance at Regions Financial
Regions Financial Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama, has in recent times adopted best practices across a range of governance areas. In doing so, it owes much to Hope Mehlman, executive vice president, chief governance officer, assistant general counsel and assistant corporate secretary, and her team. ‘This is not just a job – it’s a passion for us,’ Mehlman says. Just one example is a ramped-up focus on ESG over the past year. Mehlman has led an expansion o...
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Jan 24, 2020
GM scores back-to-back proxy statement awards
GM won the best proxy statement (large cap) category for the second consecutive year at the 2019 awards. Its entry showed clear progression from the previous year’s award-winning proxy statement, and both publications emphasize the growing importance of communicating a cohesive theme through the proxy statement. In 2017 GM faced a proxy contest with Greenlight Capital in which the investor questioned the company’s capital allocation and the makeup of the board. ...
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Jan 22, 2020
Opinion: How companies should interpret Larry Fink’s letter
Rather than getting caught up in a debate over fiduciary duty or whether or not sustainability or ESG performance is material, let’s just cut to the chase on the latest BlackRock letter. It’s still a company’s choice whether to disclose ESG information. If your company is selling a product or a service, you are obviously responding to customer demands and interests. So what about customers buying your stock? If they are increasingly asking for ESG information, how do...
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Jan 15, 2020
BlackRock signals renewed climate focus
BlackRock has this week made major announcements highlighting renewed efforts to integrate climate change into its investment process – putting greater pressure on boards to act on the firm’s climate-related concerns raised during engagements.  In his annual letter to CEOs, BlackRock chair and CEO Larry Fink notes that climate change ‘has become a defining factor in com...
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Jan 09, 2020
NYSE targets change in board diversity with elite networking program
When Betty Liu joined the NYSE in July 2018, she hit the road. In her newly created role as executive vice chairman of the exchange and chief experience officer of parent company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), she wanted to talk to CEOs of NYSE-listed companies about the value-adds the exchange could provide. During these initial meetings, diversity and board composition emerged as common themes. The CEOs she spoke to ‘had had no issues with wanting to make thei...
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Jan 08, 2020
US regulatory environment has ‘shifted dramatically’ on ESG, say legal experts
As the SEC considers how issuers should report on certain material ESG issues and the House of Representatives waits to discuss a proposed ESG reporting bill, a leading corporate governance lawyer says the regulatory environment has ‘shifted dramatically’ on ESG. Speaking to Corporate Secretary and sister publication IR Magazine at the ESG Integration Forum last month, Gillian Emmett Moldowan, partner at Shearman & Sterling, cited the SEC’s recen...
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Jan 06, 2020
How AT&T produces 20 ESG mini-reports
AT&T’s ESG reporting team takes a two-fold approach to managing relationships with ESG data providers, by actively engaging with analysts and producing 20 topic-specific ESG reports. Several issuers expressed concerns about the accuracy of third-party ESG data at last month’s ESG Integration Forum, but Ben Kruse, director of global CSR reporting a...
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Jan 03, 2020
How SASB aims to keep its standards relevant
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has reportedly seen the number of companies using its standards double since late 2018. Its lead analyst caught up with IR Magazine and Corporate Secretary to outline how the group will keep its guidelines up to date. Speaking at the ESG Integration Forum – US 2019, Anton Gorodniuk outline...
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Jan 02, 2020
Off-season engagement continues to rise, says ESG adviser
The number of requests that institutional investors receive for meetings outside of proxy season continues to rise, as IR, legal and sustainability teams are encouraged to work together on off-season ESG engagement. Speaking to IR Magazine and Corporate Secretary at the ESG Integration Forum – US 2019 in December, Daniel Oh said the institutional investors he talked to in December were receiving unprecedented levels of issuer outreach before the holidays....
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