Over last 12 months, 93% of the 41 companies that shareholder advocacy nonprofit As You Sow engaged with realized that getting on the path of racial justice and workplace equity disclosure was positive for their business and decided to take action

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August 31, 2022 (press release) –

93% of companies engaged see a competitive advantage driving corporate implementation of racial justice and workplace DEI transparency

oday, As You Sow, a leading shareholder advocacy nonprofit, announced the results of its corporate engagements on racial justice and workplace equity over the last 12 months. Forty-one companies were engaged in discussions on how to improve their racial justice and workplace equities policies and practices. Fifteen responded in a positive and constructive manner. At 26 companies As You Sow escalated the dialogue to include other investors and filed shareholder resolutions.

Of the 26 shareholder resolutions filed, 88% (23 companies) led to improved practices and the shareholder resolutions were withdrawn. Only Berkshire Hathaway, Charter Communications, and UPS were unwilling to make the requested changes in their programs or policies. Between the 15 companies that agreed to improvements through dialogue alone and the 23 that agreed after escalation, a remarkable 38 out of 41 (93%) companies realized that getting on the path of racial justice and workplace equity disclosure was positive for their business and decided to take action.

As You Sow’s workplace equity program seeks to ensure more equitable economic opportunities for diverse employees. It has benchmarked the Russell 1000 companies using 31 key performance indicators to separate leaders from laggards. Its initial work focused on the need for quantitative corporate disclosure on hiring, retention, and promotion rates of diverse employees as a means to measure the effectiveness of corporate workplace equity programs. Without corporate disclosure of key diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) metrics, investors have been unable to identify which companies are “walking the talk” and which just have strong public relations teams.

As You Sow most recently reached an agreement with Procter & Gamble to disclose recruitment and retention data by gender (globally) and by U.S. race/ethnicity by the end of 2024. This agreement came shortly after Nike committed to As You Sow that it would disclose recruitment and promotion data by gender (globally) and U.S. race/ethnicity by the end of 2024. 

“Increased corporate transparency of diversity and inclusion data has strong support from major investors,” said Meredith Benton, workplace equity program manager at As You Sow and founder of Whistle Stop Capital. “They are suspicious of companies that are uncomfortable publishing basic data about how their diverse employees are treated.”

As You Sow’s racial justice program works to reduce broad systemic racism. It has also benchmarked the Russell 1000, measuring how well companies have upheld their own commitments through 26 key performance indicators on racial equity, as well as their broader societal and environmental impact. In 2022, the racial justice initiative engaged 24 companies and escalated seven by filing shareholder resolutions at Charles Schwab, Dollar General, Entergy, Eversource Energy, Martin Marietta, NiSource, and Uber. It successfully withdrew all seven after the companies agreed to terms.

“Companies responded very positively to resolutions this season; most were already working on their racial equity policies behind the scenes and developing strategies to make their DEI journey public,” said Olivia Knight, racial justice program manager at As You Sow.

As You Sow also filed a climate justice resolution at Kinder Morgan bridging racial justice and pollution from industrial air pollution. This engagement was focused on toxic emissions causing negative health impacts on the Dutchtown community in St. Louis on the banks of the Mississippi River. The resolution was successfully withdrawn after the company agreed to bolster its environmental justice community outreach policies, and to meet with local community representatives.  

As You Sow also has initiatives focused on women’s reproductive health, climate change, ocean plastics, pesticides, and excessive CEO pay.

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As You Sow is the nation’s leading shareholder advocacy nonprofit, with a 30-year track record promoting environmental and social corporate responsibility and advancing values-aligned investing. Its issue areas include climate change, ocean plastics, pesticides, racial justice, workplace diversity, and executive compensation. Click here for As You Sow’s shareholder resolution tracker.

Whistle Stop Capital is a consultancy that offers outsourced sustainable investment services, working with asset owners and advisors to assess and address material social and environmental exposures within their investment portfolios.

As You Sow
August 30, 2022
 

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