C.R. Bard Sustainability Report GHG 2012
|Company||CR Bard Inc.|
|Filer||Walden Asset Management|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Sustainability Reporting|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Sustainability report including greenhouse gas reduction goals|
We believe tracking and reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) business practices makes a company more responsive to a global business environment which is characterized by finite natural resources, changing legislation, and heightened public expectations for corporate accountability. Reporting also helps companies better integrate and gain strategic value from existing sustainability efforts, identify gaps and opportunities in products and processes, develop company-wide communications, publicize innovative practices, and receive feedback.
Today, companies like Bloomberg provide information on ESG performance that investors including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley utilize in investment decisions. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), representing 551 institutional investors globally with $71 trillion in assets, has for years requested greater disclosure from companies on their climate change management programs. The 2010 company response rate to CDP for the S&P 500 and the FTSE Global Equity Index Series 500 was 70% and 82%, respectively. In contrast C.R. Bard (Bard) declined to participate, reflecting seeming unresponsiveness to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions abatement targets and goals.
Investors are increasingly concerned about a lack of active environmental leadership such as this by companies in which they invest. Peers such as Baxter International and Medtronic are already actively engaged in sustainability reporting.
Sustainability reporting is on the rise as an increasing number of corporations worldwide produce reports. In 2009, there was a 25% increase in the number of organizations worldwide using the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) guidelines for their ESG reporting. Almost 20% of all Fortune 500 companies are now reporting according to the GRI Framework, up from 5% 4 years ago.
In contrast, Bard does not report on either its sustainability efforts or greenhouse gas management plans.
Climate change is one of the most financially significant environmental issues currently facing investors. Occupational safety and health, vendor and labor standards, waste and water reduction targets and product-related environmental impacts are particularly important ESG considerations in Bard’s sector and may have the potential to pose significant regulatory, legal, reputational and financial risks.
Bard notes that one of its policies is to ensure continuous improvement in its environmental, health and safety management systems, pollution prevention practices, and safety programs. However, investors do not have access to evaluative data on how the company is meeting these goals or managing these business factors.
Last year’s resolution received a 28% vote of shares cast for and against in favor.
Shareholders request that Bard issue a sustainability report describing the company’s ESG performance including GHG reduction targets and goals. The report should be available by September 1, 2012, prepared at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information.
We recommend the report include a company-wide review of policies, practices and metrics related to ESG performance and that Bard commit to continuous improvement in reporting. We encourage Bard to consider the use of the GRI Guidelines (G3). The GRI (www.globalreporting.org) is a globally accepted reporting framework considered the “gold standard of reporting”. The GRI also provides a flexible reporting system that allows companies to report incrementally over time.