Outcome: Withdrawn due to a commitment from Alkermes to provide a meaningful combination of qualitative and quantitative information on key environmental and social topics later this year.
Shareholders request Alkermes plc. issue an annual report describing the company’s policies, strategies, quantitative performance metrics, and improvement targets on material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics. This report should be prepared at reasonable cost and omit proprietary information.
Alkermes should consider the resources and recommendations made by the widely accepted Global Reporting Initiative, CDP, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and the G20 Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures when identifying ESG topics to be included in this report.
ESG issues can present significant risks and opportunities. Transparent, substantive reporting allows companies to publicize risk management programs, capture strategic value from existing sustainability efforts, identify gaps and opportunities in policies and practices, stimulate innovation, enhance company-wide communications, and recruit and retain employees.
Tracking and reporting on ESG practices is especially important in today’s global business environment, which is characterized by heightened public expectations for corporate accountability.
Alkermes provides information on corporate giving and educational grant programs, however it has not disclosed any substantive information on policies or initiatives relating to environmental impacts, resource efficiency, workforce management, workforce diversity, or other ESG topics.
Corporate sustainability reporting is widespread. In 2015, KPMG found that of 4,500 global companies, 73% had ESG reports. The Governance & Accountability Institute reports 82% of the S&P 500 published corporate sustainability reports in 2016. Celgene, Gilead, Novartis, Amgen, and Biogen are among the many healthcare sector companies publishing sustainability reports.
Interest in sustainability reporting continues to grow amongst investors. Investors managing over $62 trillion have joined the Principles for Responsible Investment, publicly committing to seek comprehensive corporate ESG disclosure and incorporate it into investment decisions. CDP, representing 827 institutional investors globally with approximately $100 trillion in assets, calls for company disclosure on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change management programs.
The link between strong sustainability management and value creation is increasingly evident. The University of Oxford and Arabesque Partners reviewed 200 studies on sustainability and corporate performance and concluded 90 percent of studies show “sound sustainability standards lower the cost of capital of companies” and 80 percent show “stock price performance of companies is positively influenced by good sustainability practices.”
Furthermore, developing and communicating strong sustainability programs is a vital step in enabling Alkermes to attract and retain the top talent it needs to innovate and bring products to market. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found employee morale was 55% better, loyalty 38% better and workforce productivity 21% better in firms with strong sustainability programs.