Corporate Governance Insights: Constructive Dialogue Bears Fruit

by Lauren Compere

Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking

Boston Common Asset Management uses its shareholder leverage to influence corporate and industry practices globally, often in collaboration with coalitions of shareholders and activist organizations.  Our avenues for promoting change have included constructive dialogue, targeted data gathering and promoting industry best practices, key performance indicator (KPIs) and metrics development, multi-stakeholder initiatives, shareholder resolutions, public policy testimony, and proxy voting.  For the past decade, we have developed our engagement strategy as long-term, global investors and have promoted constructive dialogue as a primary tool in non-U.S. markets, where shareholder resolutions are a rarity.

The most effective shareowner engagement platform comes from leveraging a variety of investor tools to support constructive dialogue.  These include public rankings, such as theAccess to Medicines Index and Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI); public scorecards, such as the recently released “Disclosing the Facts: Transparency and Risk in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations,” the Emerging Markets Disclosure Project scorecard used in Brazil, South Africa, and South Korea; and a company’s own reporting and public commitments through industry initiatives, such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the Global Compact, and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  We also use NGO reports to flag emerging issues, such as the 2013 Oxfam Behind the Brands Report, which ranked the ten largest food and beverage companies on a variety of key social and environmental impacts in the global food supply chain.

Read the full article – page 34

Lauren Compere is Managing Director and Director of Shareowner Engagement at Boston Common Asset Management and has almost 25 years of experience in the SRI field. She is Treasurer and sits on the Governing Board of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). She also serves on the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) Business Ethics Committee and and Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) for the Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI). Ms. Compere was Co-Chair of the Emerging Markets Disclosure Project (EMDP) from 2009-2012.

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