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Trillium News

January 23, 2013

Following Trillium’s Shareholder Engagement, Four Companies Update Non-Discrimination Policies

Directly following Trillium Asset Management’s (Trillium) corporate engagement in the autumn of 2012, Sealed Air (NYSE: SEE), Reinsurance Group of American (NYSE: RGA), W.W. Grainger (NYSE: GWW) and East West Bancorp* (NASDAQ: EWBC) updated their employment and non-discrimination policies to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression.

Trillium believes that companies and workers benefit from consistent, corporate-wide, efforts to prevent discrimination, ensuring a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees.

“The success of our anti-discrimination engagements this fall is reflective of a shift in corporate America. Companies understand the importance of guaranteeing equal protection for all employees. Such protections not only have a positive impact on the lives of workers, they can also enhance a company’s competitive edge,” said Natasha Lamb, of Trillium’s Shareholder Advocacy & Corporate Engagement team.

Federal law does not provide sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination protection. However, twenty-one states, the District of Columbia and more than 140 cities and counties, have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Currently, only sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

According to an analysis of surveys conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 16 to 68 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people report experiencing employment discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index notes that over 86% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted written nondiscrimination policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 50% of the Fortune 500 now prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression, an indication that companies are taking sexual orientation and gender identity protections seriously.

*Trillium co-filed this shareholder resolution with Walden Asset Management, who was the lead filer.

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The views expressed are those of the authors as of the date referenced and are subject to change at any time based on market or other conditions. These views are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice. The information provided in this material should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. To the extent specific securities are mentioned, they have been selected by the authors on an objective basis to illustrate views expressed in the commentary and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. The information contained herein has been prepared from sources believed reliable but is not guaranteed by us as to its timeliness or accuracy, and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data. This piece is for informational purposes and should not be construed as a research report.

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