Managing Carbon Governance

By Dr Rory Sullivan

Companies need to respond to climate change – both mitigation (emissions reductions) and adaptation – as a strategic business concern, not simply as an operational issue. From an investment perspective, the ultimate test of a company’s climate change strategy is the extent to which it protects the business over the short-, medium and long-term, through maximising upside opportunities and minimising downside risks.… Read the rest

Social and new media: Improving ownership?

The ICGN Conference in Paris last week included a session on the very interesting topic of new and social media, exploring what are some of the ramifications in the context of corporate governance.

Taking corporate governance in its widest sense – i.e.… Read the rest

Kay hopes for “not just another governance review”

Professor John Kay has formally launched his consultation exercise to examine  UK equity markets and long-term decision making.

In a launch event at the National Association of Pension Funds the review team published a detailed call for evidence paper identifying the key questions the review will explore. … Read the rest

New guidance for issuers on risk

Understanding corporate risk has shot to the top of the agenda for ESG-focussed investors in recent months. Under the newly expanded Section C of The UK Corporate Governance Code, boards are explicitly tasked with being responsible for “determining the nature and extent of the significant risks [the board] is willing to take in achieving its strategic objectives”.… Read the rest

Manifest-I reader offer – 20% off “Greenhouse Gas Management”

Manifest-I readers can claim an exclusive 20% discount on Dr Rory Sullivan’s latest report: ” Corporate Greenhouse Gas Management”.

This report offers practical recommendations to companies seeking to respond effectively to climate change-related business drivers while also offering them the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.… Read the rest

Running the Stewardship Race: What Will Define London 2012?

We are already fast approaching the anniversary of the first investor disclosures in response to the UK Stewardship Code: the raft of reviews and evaluations as to its impact is sure to begin soon, especially with the notion of a European Stewardship Code and the introduction of other similar Codes fresh in our minds as we approach the autumn conference season.… Read the rest

Will Integrated Reporting Deliver Value or Values?

By Guest Author: Dr Rory Sullivan

There is growing support for the idea that companies should produce ‘integrated reports’ that explain how factors such as climate change, resource use or human rights will affect their current and future performance. The argument is that a more holistic approach to reporting – where companies combine their annual report with their corporate responsibility or sustainability report – would provide benefits to companies and to their investors by helping properly embed sustainability-related issues into companies’ decision-making and encouraging companies and investors to consider business strategy and performance in the round rather than solely focusing on short-term financial performance.… Read the rest

Voting Discretion: should the chairman have a say on say-on-pay?

What to do when shareholders elect not to vote on a resolution? Recent legal developments in Australia have raised interesting questions about the common practice of the chairman voting undirected proxies for say-on-pay resolutions.

In the majority of markets with developed shareholder voting procedures, for each proposal, the shareholder has three choices; to vote for, against or abstain.… Read the rest

Gender Diversity: Quotas or Targets?

Gender diversity is proving to be a controversial topic in the marketplace as businesses and investors debate the issues raised by the recent review by Lord Davies on gender diversity in the corporate world.

Following the publication of ‘Women on Boards’ and in anticipation of the FRC’s consultation on the same, UKSIF held an useful analyst seminar to talk around the issues with the investment community.… Read the rest

Underlying profits – useful or misleading?

The use of underlying profit as an indicator of corporate performance risks misleading investors, according to a recent study conducted by Deloitte. The firm surveyed the 2010 annual reports of 100 publicly listed and other large New Zealand companies, finding that in 92% of the filings, the highlighted underlying profit improved the statutory profit result by either increasing the profit figure, turning a loss into a profit, or reducing a loss.Read the rest

EU Green paper – Comply or Explain or Else……..

EU Commissioner Michel Barnier’s Green Paper on Corporate Governance closed for consultation on Friday. The irony of the US declaration that shareholders cannot nominate their own directors coming out on the same day will not be lost on the governance community.… Read the rest

Shareholders can’t hold companies to account say US courts

When market commentators talk about corporate governance they often refer to the “Anglo-American Model” of governance, as opposed to the EU’s stakeholder orientated approach. Friday’s decision by the US courts to reject shareholder “proxy access” should leave observers in no doubt that there’s nothing much “Anglo” about the American approach to governance.… Read the rest