||New York State Common Retirement Fund
||Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
WHEREAS: Investors increasingly seek disclosure of companies’ social and environmental practices in the belief that they impact shareholder value. Many investors believe companies that are good employers, environmental stewards, and corporate citizens are more likely to generate stronger financial returns, better respond to emerging issues, and enjoy long-term business success.
Mainstream financial companies are also increasingly recognizing the links between sustainability performance and shareholder value. For example, information from corporations on their greenhouse gas emissions is essential to investors as they assess the strengths of corporate securities in the context of climate change.
Globally, over 2,700 companies issued reports on sustainability issues (www.corporateregister.com). Many companies have issued comprehensive sustainability reports that address their company’s impacts with regards to issues such as greenhouse gas emissions reduction, toxic chemicals in materials and products, and supply chain working conditions. Many of these companies have provided detailed assessments of greenhouse gas emission exposure and made reduction commitments.
Dollar General, however, lags behind its peers on sustainability reporting. While its website provides information to comply with the California Transparency in the Supply Chain Act of 2010, such as avoidance of child labor and forced labor in its supply chain, it largely fails to otherwise address its social and environmental footprint. The Company’s website mentions important topics such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability and product quality, but provides little information on the company's management of these issues.
In contrast, company peers such as Walmart and Dollar Tree publish sustainability reports. Walmart’s global responsibility report notes that it has set goals to create zero waste and operate with 100% renewable energy. Walmart also reports participation in the Chemical Footprint Project as a point of reference to evaluate stewardship of hazardous chemicals in the supply chain and is phasing out priority chemicals of concern. Dollar Tree publishes a sustainability report and has targeted 17 toxic chemicals for elimination from products sold in its stores.
Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a sustainability report describing corporate strategies regarding climate change, specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and address other environmental and social impacts such as eliminating toxic materials in the supply chain, recycling, and employee and product safety. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, should be published by December 2018.
The report should include the company’s definition of sustainability and a company-wide review of policies, practices, and metrics related to long-term social and environmental sustainability.
We recommend that Dollar General use Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines to prepare the sustainability report. The GRI is an international organization working with representatives from the business, environmental, human rights and labor communities. GRI guidelines provide guidance on report content, including performance on direct economic impacts, the environment, labor practices, and decent work conditions, human rights, society, and product responsibility. The guidelines provide a flexible reporting system that allows omission of content not relevant to company operations.