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Coach Sustainability Report 2013

Shareholders request that Coach issue a comprehensive annual sustainability report addressing sustainability risks and opportunities including quantitative goals for relevant issues and identifying material issues including a review of: greenhouse gas emissions; energy and water use efficiency; renewable energy sourcing; waste and toxic materials minimization; sourcing of sustainably produced raw materials; and worker health and safety.  The report should be available by December 1, 2013, be prepared at reasonable cost, and omit proprietary information.
Reporting and rigorously managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) business practices prepares companies for a global business environment characterized by finite natural resources, changing legislation, and heightened public expectations.  Reporting also helps companies gain strategic value from existing sustainability efforts, identify gaps and opportunities, and publicize important initiatives. ESG issues can pose significant risks to businesses, and without proper disclosure, stakeholders and analysts cannot ascertain whether the company is managing its ESG exposure.
Institutional investors managing $33 trillion have joined The Principles for Responsible Investment, and publicly commit to seek corporate ESG disclosure and incorporate it into investment decisions.  
The link between strong sustainability disclosure and value creation is increasingly evident.  A 2012 review conducted by Deutsche Bank of 100 academic studies, 56 research papers, two literature reviews, and four meta-studies on sustainable investing found 89% of studies demonstrate that companies with high ESG ratings show market-based outperformance, and 85% of the studies show these companies experience accounting-based outperformance.
Coach’s ESG disclosure is woefully inadequate relative to peers such GAP (Banana Republic), and PVH Corp. (Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole).  Sustainability considerations can no longer be ignored in this high-impact business. 
Responsibly sourcing raw materials can help to protect and enhance Coach’s brand. Leather production is strongly linked to deforestation in the Amazon, where cattle ranching is responsible for over 65% of total deforestation.
Our direct competitor Gucci has a line of handbags using leather from Rainforest Alliance Certified ranches, and Timberland has ceased using leather imported from cattle raised on former Amazon rainforest lands.
We recommend Coach’s report include:  a company-wide review of policies, governance structures, and stakeholder engagement related to ESG performance; a commitment to continuous improvement in reporting; a statement on the alignment between Coach’s sustainability programs and related political spending or public policy activity; as well as a description of management systems that protect the human rights of employees including those of key suppliers.  
We encourage consideration of the GRI Guidelines (, a globally accepted reporting framework viewed as the gold standard for sustainability reporting, with more than 4,000 corporate users. The Guidelines are flexible and allow companies to exclude metrics that are not material.  The G&A Institute found that companies who use the GRI framework experience higher Bloomberg ESG Disclosure scores, as well as higher rates of inclusion in sustainability-focused stock indices.  As a benchmark for human rights, we recommend the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the most widely accepted universal standard.