State Street Global Advisors Publishes 2020 Proxy Season Review, Showcasing Recent Asset Stewardship Activity - Seite 2
“As long-term shareholders, we are committed to standing behind our investee companies,” said Benjamin Colton, Global Co-Head of Asset Stewardship for State Street Global Advisors. “We want to help companies navigate short-term challenges, while striking a balance to ensure these challenges are not being met at the expense of longer-term priorities. These two reports detail our record on working with companies on critical issues that can impact their long-term sustainability.”
Engagement and Voting on R-Factor Scores
In January, ahead of the 2020 proxy season, State Street Global Advisors sent a letter to boards detailing that it would begin incorporating R-Factor into its engagement and voting priorities. R-Factor, launched by State Street Global Advisors in 2019, is a scoring system that measures the performance of a company’s business operations and governance as it relates to financially material and sector-specific ESG issues. R-Factor leverages widely accepted, transparent materiality frameworks from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and offers companies a roadmap on how to manage and disclose their ESG practices, allowing them to take the action needed to enhance their scores. It is built to address the current challenges with ESG data by removing opaqueness around ESG materiality in the scoring process. It takes the guesswork out of ESG reporting, and focuses boards and management teams on the core ESG issues that matter for business and investors.
During the 2020 proxy season, 14 companies who were laggards in terms of their R-Factor scores held shareholder meetings. The stewardship team requested engagement with all identified laggards. The stewardship team subsequently voted against directors at nine of the 14 meetings (64%) where companies’ responsiveness to our engagement efforts could be improved. Of these nine companies, five were in the United States and four were in the United Kingdom.
“We will continue to hold board directors accountable for their ESG practices and related disclosure,” said Robert Walker, Global Co-Head of Asset Stewardship for State Street Global Advisors. “We will continue our engagement with companies to understand how they will improve their disclosure, and will be prepared to use our voting action as needed.”
Update and Expansion to Fearless Girl Campaign
Since the launch of the Fearless Girl campaign, on International Women’s Day in 2017, 789 publicly-traded companies identified by State Street Global Advisors who previously had no women on their boards, have responded to the call by adding a female board director. This represents an addition of over 100 companies since the March 2020 announcement on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Fearless Girl campaign, when the number was 681. For the 2020 proxy season, State Street Global Advisors expanded its gender diversity voting guidelines to Hong Kong and Singapore, with the companies listed on the Straits Times and Hang Seng indices being impacted. This voting guideline was introduced in the US, UK and Australia in 2017, and extended to continental Europe, Canada and Japan in 2018. In markets where State Street Global Advisors applies a gender diversity voting guideline, the voting policy was strengthened for 2020. The stewardship team now votes against the entire nominating and governance committee, not just the chair, if concerns exist about the lack of gender diversity for four consecutive years and the companies are unable to engage in productive dialogue.