Thursday, March 21, 2019
Tech Data’s Goodwill Adjustment

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
There’s Taxes, and There’s Taxes

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Adventures in Tax Cuts and Net Income

Monday, March 11, 2019
Big Moves in Goodwill, Intangible Value

Friday, March 8, 2019
CVS, Goodwill, and Enterprise Value

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Summary of Our Goodwill Research/ How-To

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
What Does ‘Other’ Mean? An Example

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Another Tale, Buried in the Footnotes

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Low Latency Calcbench

Monday, February 11, 2019
Now Streaming on Hulu: Red Ink

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Early Look at 2018 Tax Decline

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
You Revised WHAT, Netflix?

Thursday, January 31, 2019
Talking About Huawei Exposure

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Another Discrepancy in Reported Numbers

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Finding Revised Facts: Hertz Edition

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
GE Commercial Aviation Services: Bringing Numbers to Light

Monday, January 21, 2019
Differences in Earnings Releases and 10-Ks

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
The Importance of Textual Analysis

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
A Look at Climate Change Disclosures

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Quants: Point-in-Time Data for Backtesting

Archive  |  Search:
More on Researching Sustainability
Friday, January 12, 2018

Not long ago we came across a year-end letter from Trillium Asset Management, one of the largest socially conscious investment funds in the United States. The letter informed Trillium investors of how the fund was nudging companies on various sustainability issues, from environmental policy to gay rights to income inequality.

That got us thinking yet again: how can Calcbench subscribers use our databases to explore sustainability issues? What are some good search terms, and where should you search?

Probably the best place to start is our Interactive Disclosure database. There, you can search specific strings of text — “climate change,” “toxic chemicals,” “workforce diversity” — and get pinpoint results from any number of disclosures that companies make.

For example, we searched for the phrase “LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) in corporate filings from 2016. We found more than 40 results scattered across Form 10-Ks, proxy statements, and even the occasional earnings release.

The phrase tended to appear in earnings releases in self-congratulatory ways. Usually, the company had won some award for its LGBT-friendly policies; the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index was mentioned numerous times. In the 10-K, companies often mentioned it in the Business Description section, while touting their commitment to tolerant, diverse workforces.

The good stuff, however (and the majority of results we found), was usually in the proxy statement. That’s where shareholder proposals were included that somehow talked about LGBT issues.

For example, the Fedex proxy on Aug. 14 had a proposal seeking

…that the Company issue a public report to shareholders, employees, customers, and public policy leaders… detailing the known and potential risks and costs to the Company caused by any enacted or proposed state policies supporting discrimination against LGBT people, and detailing strategies above and beyond litigation or legal compliance that the Company may deploy to defend the Company’s LGBT employees and their families against discrimination and harassment that is encouraged or enabled by the policies.

Fedex opposed the proposal, arguing that it already had strong pro-LGBT policies and that the report’s benefits wouldn’t be worth the cost.

That proposal came from North Star Asset Management, which submitted a similar proposal to Western Union.

We also searched “Paris Accord,” for the global environmental treaty that earlier this year President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from. We found only five results, although that may not be surprising: we were searching 2016 filings, and Trump didn’t announce the Paris Accord withdrawal until mid-2017. So we may see more mentions this coming spring, as alarmed environmental groups press for more action on climate change.

Entergy, for example, had this shareholder proposal in its proxy statement of March 21:

With board oversight, shareholders request that Entergy prepare a report (at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information) describing how the Company could adapt its enterprise-wide business model to significantly increase deployment of distributed-scale non-carbon-emitting electricity resources as a means of reducing societal greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

Entergy’s board opposed that resolution, too.

You get the idea; through the Calcbench Interactive Disclosure database, you can search for all manner of sustainability items. Other terms to consider include…

  • Political spending
  • Income inequality
  • Workforce diversity
  • Ethical sourcing
  • Conflict minerals

And probably lots more beyond that, too. The information is in the database somewhere, and Calcbench helps you find it.

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