Key Themes Shaping Proxy Voting in 2022
As the volume and breadth of ESG risk exposure continue to rise, the stage is set for another momentous proxy season. The trending topics of last year will continue to steer the agenda—with the prospect of even more substantial support from shareholders in 2022.
Bringing Investors and Companies Together to Accelerate Human Rights Progress
Human rights issues have been rising on the responsible investment agenda in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have provoked even more pointed discourse on the topic. The European Union’s current efforts to introduce rules to hold companies accountable for social and environmental risks in their supply chains further accelerate that ascent. This wave of legal requirements and normative expectations is impacting financial markets worldwide, with responsible business regulations already in place or quickly becoming valid.
ESG Investors Consider Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 in the Construction Industry
The construction industry can have a reputation for workforce insensitivity and is highly vulnerable to economic and social variabilities. The ESG Impacts of COVID-19 drive companies to adapt to significant challenges related to the demand for construction services. This construction sector research snapshot highlights relevant social issues that corporations face due to ripple effects from the pandemic using Sustainalytics’ ESG Risk Ratings and Controversies Research.
Using Systems Thinking to Avoid ESG Investing Blind Spots
For investors looking to enhance ESG risk management and the long-term impact of sustainability efforts, a systemic approach can help identify interventions that will most effectively mitigate the risk of negative outcomes or divert the chain of events towards a more sustainable trajectory. Typically, this involves moving from single-issue or company-specific tactics to progressively integrate system-level considerations in ESG strategies. Targeting systemic change through active ownership is one way to acknowledge and start unravelling the dynamic web of global challenges.
Banks Embrace Corporate Culture as Change Agent
Corporate culture is not automatically positive, and elements of a company’s culture may provide certain benefits or disadvantages to a firm’s competitiveness. When acknowledged, corporate culture can be used as a tool to drive better business outcomes and manage conduct and compliance risk. Our discussions with companies show that corporate culture can have a dominant effect and influence behaviour over and beyond stated company policies and programs.
The Future of Human Capital: Rising on the Agenda
This has been a year of unprecedented uncertainty and upheaval. It has also cemented the materiality of human capital and the importance of examining preparedness for future workplace challenges. Human capital management is a broad ESG issue that captures important and current matters, such as skills development, diversity and inclusion, and employee engagement. It is growing in its importance due to the dynamic and uncertain management landscape. Notwithstanding the shock of the pandemic and the strengthening drive for racial equality, technology, demographics, and globalization are already driving structural change in labour markets.
The Shift to Remote Work: Examining the Risk Landscape
This blog post is the first in a two-part series. In our initial article, we will explore cybersecurity and remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic and its role in expanding an enterprise’s attack surface. In our next blog post, we will examine privacy issues related to COVID-19 contact-tracing.
Coronavirus: Are Companies Prepared to Take Care of Their Employees?
In April 2020, the International Labour Organisation (ILO)[i] estimated that in the second quarter of 2020 there will be a 6.7% decrease in working hours globally (approximately 195 million full-time employees), primarily in the sectors hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic: food service, manufacturing and retailing.
Coronavirus: Human Capital Management During and After the Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has been sudden and significant. The transition from business as usual to crisis response has meant that daily routines are no long routine and future planning is in a state of constant revision. We are learning new ways to source essential goods and connect with people. The same applies to companies. While truly exceptional, the pandemic illustrates the importance of proactive business planning and robust risk management systems, with companies’ ability to respond to shocks and adapt to changing circumstances being tested profoundly.
Human Capital and the Future of Work
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is accelerating. Technological progress, globalization and demographic shifts, will bring structural changes and disruptions to society and labor markets. This engagement supports investors in understanding how companies can proactively manage workforce needs and transitions for a sustainable labor market.
Commentary on New Department of Labor Guidance
On April 24th, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB), seeking to clarify how environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors should be considered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
Uber’s ESG Risks—is the new CEO up to the Challenge?
Uber, the ride hailing company, recently appointed Dara Khosrowshahi as CEO. His appointment comes in the wake of intensifying criticism of the company. Uber is accused of having a hostile workplace culture, mistreating its drivers and using software tools to evade regulators. What are the root causes of these issues, which Khosrowshahi will need to address if he wants to get the company back on track?
#DeleteUber: The Changing Face of Consumer Boycotts?
In late January 2017, 200,000 Uber users deleted their accounts in just one week. Meanwhile, the company’s closest competitor, Lyft, surpassed Uber in the number of daily iOS downloads for the first time. This consumer action formed part of the #DeleteUber campaign on social media. Given the campaign’s impact, it is important to ask how it differs from more traditional consumer boycotts and what investors can learn from it.