SunTrust Sustainability Report Climate 2011
|Company||SunTrust Banks, Inc.|
|Filer||Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Sustainability Reporting|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Sustainability report including climate change|
|Supporting Memo||Download PDF|
WHEREAS: We believe reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices makes a company more responsive to changing expectations of corporate behavior and shifting regulations. Reporting also helps companies gain strategic value from existing corporate social responsibility efforts, identify gaps and opportunities, develop organization-wide communications, publicize innovative practices, and receive feedback.
Sustainability reporting is quickly becoming a common practice. According to a 2008 KPMG report on sustainability reporting, of the 250 Global Fortune companies, 79% produce reports compared to 52% in 2005.
Transparency regarding climate change strategy is particularly crucial; it is one of the most financially significant environmental issues currently facing investors. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report observed that, "taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and increase over time," and the SEC issued interpretive guidance illuminating disclosure requirements of climate-related information.
SunTrust Banks has not issued a Sustainability Report, nor has SunTrust made publicly available a plan to reduce direct or indirect greenhouse gas emissions. SunTrust competitors Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo & Company recently scored 85 and 89, respectively, in the 2010 Carbon Disclosure Project survey. SunTrust scored only 27 in the 2010 report, indicating that SunTrust is lagging its peers in terms of carbon and climate risk disclosure.
Current and pending climate-related public policies present important new business risks and opportunities for SunTrust. Investment in and financing of emissions-intensive activities and businesses is arguably the most significant impact that SunTrust has regarding climate change.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors issue a sustainability report describing the company's short-and long-term responses to ESG-related issues, including strategies to address climate change. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, should be published within six months of SunTrust's 2011 annual meeting.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: The report should include the company's definition of sustainability and a company-wide review of policies, practices, and metrics related to long-term social and environmental sustainability. Lending practices relating to social and environmental issues should be reviewed along with proxy voting policies and procedures on these issues, including a comparison of SunTrust's proxy voting record on these issues with other large institutional investors such as the largest state pension funds.
Example of topics that could be reviewed in the report include: ways to reduce the use of energy and natural resources by facilities and employees, governance practices related to climate change and sustainability, and how SunTrust encourages customers to act in environmentally responsible ways.
We recommend SunTrust use the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) Sustainability Guidelines to prepare a sustainability report. The GRI Guidelines are developed with representatives from the business, environmental, human rights and labor communities. The guidelines provide guidance on report content, including performance on environmental impact, labor practices, human rights, and product responsibility. The guidelines provide a flexible reporting system that allows omission of content not relevant to SunTrust.