Reporting and rigorously managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) business practices make a company more responsive to a global business environment characterized by finite natural resources, changing legislation, and heightened public expectations.
Reporting helps companies integrate and gain value from existing sustainability efforts, identify gaps and opportunities, and publicize innovative practices.
The link between strong sustainability management and value creation is increasingly evident. A 2012 review conducted by Deutsche Bank of 100 academic studies, 56 research papers, two literature reviews, and four meta-studies on sustainable investing found 89% of studies demonstrated that companies with high ESG ratings also show market-based outperformance. In addition, 85% of the studies indicated that these companies experience accounting-based outperformance.
Investors seek disclosure of companies’ ESG practices, as reflected in the growth of sustainability-focused investor groups. The Investor Network on Climate Risk supports 100 investors with assets totaling $10 trillion. One thousand signatories to the (UN) Principles for Responsible Investment, representing more than $30 trillion in assets have publicly pledged to incorporate ESG factors into investment decisions and request standardized reporting on ESG issues.
Corporations recognize the value of sustainability reporting. Evidence of this can be seen in the large increase in the number of reporters in recent years. According to the Governance & Accountability Institute, 19% of S&P 500 companies published at least one sustainability report during the reporting periods 2006 to 2010. Yet by May 2012, more than one-half, or 53% of S&P 500 companies had issued a sustainability report.
Our company is a leading merchandiser for the corporate and retail apparel markets, operating a central distribution center near the gulf coast, and more than 1000 stores in the U.S. and U.K each averaging 3,000 to 9,700 square feet. Absent disclosures regarding policies and practices aimed at addressing ESG impacts of its operations, investors are limited in their ability to understand related business risks and opportunities.
Shareholders request the Board of Directors issue an annual sustainability report describing The Men’s Wearhouse’s short-and long-term responses to ESG-related issues. The report should include, where feasible, objective statistical indicators and goals relating to each issue, be prepared at a reasonable cost, omit proprietary information, and be made available to shareholders by December 15, 2013.
The report should address relevant policies, metrics and goals on topics such as: greenhouse gas emissions, water and wastewater management, waste minimization, energy efficiency, vendor standards, and other relevant environmental and social impacts. We recommend the Company use the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The GRI is an international organization developed with representatives from business, environmental, human rights and labor communities. The Guidelines provide a flexible reporting system that allows the omission of content irrelevant to company operations.