Update: Strong Support for Wespath’s Call for Sustainability Report at Emerson Electric

A shareholder resolution co-led by Wespath Investment Management and Mercy Investment Services calling for Emerson Electric to develop a detailed sustainability report received strong support at the company’s annual general meeting, February 2, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. Over 47% of shareholders voted in favor—even greater support than last year’s 39% vote and a clear sign of the increasing importance investors are placing on sustainability.


Wespath’s Daniela Jaramillo, sustainable investment specialist, presented at Emerson Electric’s annual general meeting on February 2, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.

The resolution asked the company to describe its policies, performance and improvement targets related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.

Emerson plays a leading role in promoting energy efficiency—many of the company’s products provide climate change and energy efficiency solutions that benefit Emerson’s customers. Emerson has invested nearly two-thirds of its research and development budget in energy efficient products and technologies and has stated its intention to operate its facilities in a manner that protects the environment, meets government requirements and reduces waste. However, the company does not file a comprehensive sustainability report, leaving investors and analysts with insufficient data around labor issues, environmental management or supply-chain management to develop a thorough understanding of the company’s ESG-related risks.

Shareholder resolutions asking Emerson Electric to prepare a sustainability report have been filed every year for the past five years, and this year came close to the over-50% threshold needed to pass. Wespath co-filed in 2014 and 2015, and this year joined Mercy as lead co-filer. Kirsty Jenkinson, managing director of Wespath’s Sustainable Investment Strategies, welcomed the strong shareholder support for the resolution and explained, "Investors increasingly expect companies to demonstrate how sustainability-related data helps them manage risk and creates business opportunities. We will continue to encourage Emerson to keep pace with its competitors regarding sustainability reporting in order to help the company position itself for a sustainable future."

 

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