Gentex Sustainability Report GHG 2012
|Filer||Walden Asset Management|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Sustainability Reporting|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Sustainability report including greenhouse gas strategies|
Shareholders request that Gentex Corporation (Gentex) issue a sustainability report describing the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance including greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and goals. The report should be available by September 1, 2012, prepared at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information.
We believe tracking and reporting on ESG business practices makes a company more responsive to a global business environment 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 such as Bloomberg provide information on ESG performance that investors including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley utilize in investment decisions.
The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is a United Nations initiative whose members seek the integration of ESG factors in investment decision making. Members collectively hold over $25 trillion of assets under management. PRI members require information on ESG factors to analyze fully the risks and opportunities associated with existing and potential investments.
Transparency on climate change abatement goals is one of the most financially significant environmental issues currently facing investors, who increasingly seek more active leadership from companies in which they invest.
Carbon Disclosure Project, representing investors with $71 trillion in combined assets, requests companies to measure and disclose their GHG emissions and climate change reduction strategies. The 2010 questionnaire response rate for the S&P 500 was 70%.
Corporate reporting on sustainability is on the rise globally. In 2009, there was a 25% increase in the number of organizations worldwide using the GRI guidelines for their ESG reporting. In the U.S., a 20% increase in documented GRI users was reported from 2009 to 2010. Increasingly, small and medium capitalization companies are following this trend.
In contrast, Gentex does not report on its sustainability efforts and does not disclose specific GHG data or management plans.
Occupational safety and health, vendor and labor standards, waste and water reduction targets and product-related
environmental impacts are particularly important factors and have the potential to pose significant regulatory, legal,
reputational and financial risks. Shareholders currently have no access to substantial information on how the company is meeting these goals or managing these business factors.
Moreover, significant Gentex customers like Ford Motor Company are increasingly requesting that suppliers expand
disclosure of material ESG issues.
In 2009, 33% voted in favor and in 2010 38% of shares (voting for and against) supported our proposal for sustainability reporting.
We recommend the report include a company wide review of policies, practices and metrics related to environmental, social and governance performance and that Gentex commit to continuous improvement in reporting. We encourage the use of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines (G3). The GRI (www.globalreporting.org) is a globally accepted reporting framework considered the gold standard of reporting which allows companies to report incrementally over time.