Gentex Corp. Sustainability Report 2013
|Filer||Walden Asset Management|
|Subject(s)||Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Sustainability Reporting|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Sustainability report including ESG performance and GHG goals|
|Supporting Memo||Download PDF|
Shareholders request that Gentex Corporation (Gentex) issue a sustainability report describing the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities including greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and goals. The report should be available by October 1, 2013, prepared at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information.
We believe tracking and reporting on ESG business practices makes a company more responsive to a transforming 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.
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 $33 trillion of assets under management and require information on ESG factors to analyze fully the risks and opportunities associated with existing and potential investments.
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), representing over 550 institutional investors globally with more than $70 trillion in assets, has for years requested disclosure from companies on their climate change management programs. Over two thirds of the S&P 500 now report to CDP.
Sustainability reporting is on the rise globally. In 2011, there was a 46% increase in the number of organizations worldwide using the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Guidelines for their ESG reporting according to G&A Institute. Smaller companies are proactively adopting sustainability reporting to report on progress as they grow. Gentex industry peers Asahi Glass and Magna International publish key sustainability factors. In contrast, Gentex does not report on its sustainability efforts nor disclose GHG data.
Companies such as 3M, Apple, Intel and Microsoft, among many others, increasingly require their suppliers to track and report on key environmental and social factors. Likewise, Gentex customers such as Ford Motor Company and BMW seek ESG performance information to use in their supplier selection programs. Moreover, these and other members of the Automotive Industry Action Group also seek greater transparency on sustainability initiatives.
Gentex states on its website that it has established objectives “to minimize…the creation of waste, pollution and adverse impacts on the environment associated with company activities, products or services.” However, shareholders currently have no access to substantial information on how the company is managing these business factors or meeting these goals.
Information required by investors includes occupational safety and health performance, vendor and labor standards and practices, waste and water reduction targets and product-related environmental impacts. These have the potential to pose significant regulatory, legal, reputational and financial risks if not properly managed.
In 2012 fully one-third (32.5%) of shares (voting for or against) supported this sustainability reporting proposal.
The report should include a company-wide review of policies, practices and metrics related to ESG performance using the GRI index and checklist as a reference.