Arjuna Capital: 2021 Proxy Season To Show If “Black Lives Matter” To Shareholders
Eight Corporations Face Resolutions on Racial Pay Equity, Civil/Human Rights Voices on Boards, Insuring Police Brutality Cases; Bank of New York Mellon, Adobe Already Have Taken Action to Address Shareholder Concerns.
Arjuna Capital's 2021 Campaign
BOSTON, MA – February 2, 2021 – Do U.S. shareholders think that Amazon, Alphabet/Google, Facebook, Twitter, Chubb, Intel, and other leading corporations need to address the concerns of African Americans and other people of color? That question will be put to the test during 2021 by the investment management firm Arjuna Capital, which is advancing shareholder resolutions on racial pay equity reporting, civil/human rights representation on boards, and the insuring of police brutality cases.
Already, the Arjuna Capital 2021 campaign has seen success. Today, Arjuna Capital announced it has successfully withdrawn its racial/gender pay equity reporting resolution at Bank of New York Mellon, which has agreed to provide a detailed level of median pay transparency. Last December 5th, Arjuna Capital withdrew a similar resolution at tech giant Adobe, which agreed to provide gender pay disclosures immediately and median racial pay gap data by the end of 2021 or face more shareholder pressure.
In taking the step, Adobe and now Bank of New York Mellon join an elite group of companies that have made more detailed pay gap disclosures at the request of Arjuna Capital. In the 2020 proxy season, Mastercard and Starbucks responded to Arjuna Capital’s median race and gender pay equity resolutions and made the requested disclosures. The first company to agree to such a resolution from Arjuna Capital was Citigroup in January 2019.
Natasha Lamb, managing partner, Arjuna Capital, said: “Across multiple issues, shareholders in 2021 will have the opportunity to show whether or not they believe Black Lives Matter. The push for median race and gender pay equity is going to be a major issue in the 2021 shareholder season. We need more companies to follow the lead of Bank of New York Mellon and Adobe by prioritizing diversity in a meaningful way and stepping forward with an honest accounting of pay equity.”
The 2021 shareholder resolutions involving issues of concern to African Americans and other people of color include:
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- Racial pay equity. In addition to the withdrawals at Adobe and Bank of New York Mellon, still-active resolutions on racial pay equity remain in front of Amazon and Intel Corp.
- Board representation. Arjuna Capital is seeking an experienced voice with human and civil rights expertise at Facebook, Alphabet/Google, and Twitter. In all three cases, these social media powerhouses have encountered criticism for perpetuating racism and hate speech on their platforms. Facebook was the target of a major advertising boycott campaign focused on these very issues. The Arjuna Capital resolution notes that these closely held companies with boards dominated by white males will never be able to deal with these issues until they allow in other diverse leadership voices.
- Insuring police brutality. The insurance giant Chubb faces an Arjuna Capital shareholder resolution that asks the company to help ensure its insurance offerings reduce and do not increase (by insuring municipalities facing related civilian litigation) the potential for racist police brutality. It is possible that at least one other major insurer may also be presented with this Arjuna Capital proxy measure later in the 2021 season.
Gender Pay Gap Disclosures
Arjuna Capital is an investor champion of workplace concerns for minorities and women. In the 2020 proxy season, Arjuna Capital submitted a total of 13 shareholder resolutions seeking median race and gender pay equity disclosure. Since 2016, Arjuna has compelled gender pay gap disclosures at 22 companies, and race pay gap disclosures at 17 companies, including leading U.S. tech, finance, and retail firms Apple, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Nike, and Adobe.
Pay inequity persists across race and gender. Black workers’ hourly median earnings, adjusted for inflation, have fallen 3.6 percent since 2000, representing 75.6 percent of white workers’ wages. The median income for women working full-time in the United States is 80 percent that of men.
Citigroup estimates that closing U.S. minority and gender wage gaps 20 years ago could have generated 12 trillion dollars in additional national income and contributed 0.15 percent to United States GDP per year. PwC estimates closing the gender pay gap could boost Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries’ economies by $2 trillion annually.
About Arjuna Capital
Arjuna Capital is a sustainable and impact investment firm that works with high-net-worth individuals, families, and institutions to invest their assets with a lens toward Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk and opportunity. Natasha Lamb and Arjuna Capital have been recognized for using shareholder resolutions to promote gender and racial pay equity in the tech, banking, and retail sectors. Lamb was named to the “Bloomberg 50” list of influencers who defined global business in 2017. For more information, visit www.Arjuna-Capital.com.