KEY SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL VOTES IN 2021 (CONTINUED)
COMPANY: Charter Communications, Inc. MEETING DATE: April 27, 2021 PROPOSAL: Annual Shareholder Vote on Emissions Reduction OUR VOTE: Abstain VOTE RESULT: 36.8%
OUR RATIONALE: Here, we are supportive of the company providing more disclosure but do not believe the annual vote aspect of this proposal is appropriate. While the company provides some information related to its sustainability initiatives, it fails to disclose a climate change risk strategy, along with its GHG emissions and related reduction targets or plans. In this aspect, the company is in the minority among S&P 500 companies, as a majority are already reporting this information. As a company within the communications services sector, we believe more disclosure on the company’s environmental footprint is warranted. We believe climate action plans are inherently long-term and would not expect these strategic plans to change significantly on an annual basis, therefore making an annual vote potentially less impactful than a vote in connection with material changes to such plans. There are also concerns that this type of proposal could have unintended consequences, such as insulating directors from accountability on climate issues through the mere passage of the advisory vote. For these reasons, we are abstaining from this proposal. OUTLOOK AND OUTCOMES: We shared our expectations regarding improved climate reporting with the company. Since the vote, the company has included a TCFD index within its ESG Report. OUR RATIONALE: Neuberger Berman believes topics related to human capital are among the most significant risks and opportunities for companies. We believe equitable, inclusive, and diverse workforces are important elements of a company’s long-term success. We value transparency on board and workforce composition and information related to human capital policies, practices, and outcomes. Here, while we recognize that the company’ corporate governance guidelines state that the board considers diversity of gender, race, and ethnicity when assessing director candidates, the board currently has no minority representation and does not appear to have publicly pledged to have a diverse candidate among prospective board nominees. As such, we believe additional disclosure on the board’s approach to seeking diverse candidates is warranted and intend to vote in support of the proposal. Further, while the focus of this proposal is on board diversity, we also believe the company could enhance its disclosures pertaining to workforce equity, inclusion, and diversity. We appreciate that the company appears to be making progress on these topics, for example by recently disclosing gender data by seniority and new hires, but we would encourage the company to provide more details by reporting its EEO-1 data or similar data for the global footprint. Additionally, we would encourage the company to publicly disclose the results of pay equity assessments that the company already undertakes. OUTLOOK AND OUTCOMES: We engaged with the company and shared our expectations on board diversity. In July 2021, the board appointed a diverse candidate that has experience in solar, investing and development finance.
COMPANY: First Solar, Inc. MEETING DATE: May 12, 2021 PROPOSAL: Board Diversity Report OUR VOTE: For VOTE RESULT: 90.8%
2021 ESG ANNUAL REPORT
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