Cleco Sustainability Report Including Water 2012
|Subject(s)||Sustainability Reporting; Water Pollution; Water Scarcity|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Sustainability report including water|
|Supporting Memo||Download PDF|
WHEREAS: 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 allows companies to 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.
There has been an increase in corporate management of ESG issues and in turn, corporate sustainability reporting. According to a 2011 KPMG report (Corporate Sustainability: A Progress Report), 62% of companies surveyed (378 global companies) have sustainability strategies in place. A 2008 survey found that 80% of the Global Fortune 250 companies now release corporate responsibility data, which is up from 64% in 2005 (KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2008). Today, companies such as Bloomberg provide information on ESG performance that investors, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, utilize in investment decisions.
For electric utilities, water scarcity poses particularly significant business risks therefore the proponents believe increased disclosure is warranted. Thermoelectric power generation is responsible for approximately 40% of water withdrawals in the U.S. According to the 2009 report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States”, climate models “project that Gulf Coast states will tend to have less rainfall in winter and spring, compared with the more northern states in the region. Because higher temperatures lead to more evaporation of moisture from soils and water loss from plants, the frequency, duration, and intensity of droughts are likely to continue to increase”. (www.globalchange.gov/usimpacts)
Furthermore, in January 2010, the SEC issued new interpretive guidance calling on companies to provide increased information on the material risks associated with climate change, including water-related risks.
Currently, Cleco has very limited public information on its programs, policies and strategies aimed at addressing ESG issues and its disclosure lags behind sector peers. Therefore, proponents encourage the company to produce a comprehensive sustainability report that includes thorough disclosure on water-related risks.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Cleco Corporation issue a sustainability report that includes a comprehensive discussion of the company’s sustainability risks and opportunities, including an analysis of material water-related risks. The report should be available by September 1, 2012, be prepared at reasonable cost, and omit proprietary information.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: We recommend that the report include a company-wide review of policies, practices and metrics related to ESG performance and that Cleco commit to continuous improvement in reporting. We encourage use of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines. 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.