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

Friday, December 28, 2018
Now Showing: Controls & Procedures

Thursday, December 27, 2018
A Reminder on Non-GAAP Reporting Rules

Monday, December 17, 2018
Researching PG&E’s Wildfire Risk

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Tracking Brexit Disclosures

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Campbell Soup: Looking Behind the Label

Sunday, December 2, 2018
SEC Comment Letters: The Amazon Example

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Measuring Big Pharma’s Chemical Dependency

Monday, November 26, 2018
Analysts, Can You Relate? A True Story

Monday, November 19, 2018
Digging Up Historical Trend Data: Quest Example

Sunday, November 11, 2018
Cost of Revenue, SG&A: Q3 Update

Monday, November 5, 2018
Lease Accounting: FedEx vs. UPS

Saturday, November 3, 2018
New Email Alerting Powers

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
PTC and Two Tales of Revenue

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
10-K/Q Section Text Change Detection

Sunday, October 28, 2018
Finding Purchase Price Allocation

Sunday, October 21, 2018
Charting Netflix Growth in Three Ways

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.

FREE Calcbench Premium
Two Week Trial

Research Financial & Accounting Data Like Never Before. More features and try our Excel add-in. Sign up now to try the Premium Suite.