Shareholders, Working In Concert, Change Kinder Morgan’s Tune On Sustainability

Think back to 2014: At the 20th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 20) in Lima, Peru, political action seemed more achievable than, perhaps, it does today.  And think back to last October:  Despite the COP 21 global agreement reached in Paris in 2015, the United States had declared its intention to withdraw and political action on the climate front seemed stalled. 

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New Report Benchmarks Integrated & Sustainability Reporting For The S&P 500

Requests for sustainability reports are evergreen in proxy season; investors have filed more than 300 proposals since 2010.  These requests for companies to provide quantified, comparable metrics about their performance on key environmental and social impacts earn substantial, sustained support from investors, with eight majority votes this decade.  Most companies are responding in some fashion, providing the metrics mainstream Wall Street analysts want to assess performance.

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SASB Addresses Growing Demand For Sustainability Disclosure

U.S. public companies spend less time communicating with investors about ESG issues than their global peers. They also disclose less. U.S. investors, in turn, fall below the global average when incorporating ESG factors into their strategies, and have less influence over responsible business behavior. This aversion to transparency isn’t surprising, due to the treatment of “materiality” within U.S. securities law.

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Change In Proxy Voting As Major Asset Owners Accept Esg As Part Of Fiduciary Duty

Each year, investors file approximately 800 shareholder resolutions. In 2018, more than 450 proposals focused on environmental and social issues. For a significant portion of these resolutions, companies and proponents reached agreements and the proponents withdrew. But nearly 180 proposals went to a vote.

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Scandal Plagued Facebook Needs Independent Board Chair

Mark Zuckerberg is both the CEO and Chairman of the Board at Facebook and because of his 60 percent voting power, he is, for all intents and purposes, accountable only to himself. Corporate governance experts and the Council of Institutional Investors have argued for years that an independent chair is vastly superior because that person is free of conflicts created by a chair who can excessively influence the rest of the board and its agenda. An independent chair is better able to monitor the management of the company on behalf of its shareholders and we see the structure virtually everywhere. For example, the percentage of S&P 500 companies with a unified CEO/chairman is at a decadal low of 45.6 percent. Leading technology companies like Apple, Alphabet, Autodesk, Microsoft and Intel all have independent chairmen.

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The Link Between Higher Drug Prices And Executive Pay

Prescription drug expenditures make up nearly 20 percent of all health care costs, and spending for prescription drugs is growing faster than any other part of the health care dollar. A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll in early 2018 found that one out of four patients have a difficult time affording their medicines. December 2018 POLITICO poll showed the public’s top priority for the 116th Congress is taking action to lower prescription drug prices.

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