Shareholders request Cambrex Corporation issue an annual report describing the company’s policies, strategies, performance, and improvement targets on material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics. This report should be prepared at reasonable cost and omit proprietary information.
Cambrex should consider the resources and recommendations made by the widely accepted Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures when identifying ESG topics to be included in this report.
Tracking and reporting on ESG practices strengthens a company’s ability to compete and adapt in today’s global business environment, which is characterized by finite natural resources, heightened public expectations for corporate accountability, and competition for talent.
Transparent, substantive reporting allows companies to better integrate and capture value from existing sustainability efforts, identify gaps and opportunities in policies and practices, strengthen risk management programs, stimulate innovation, enhance company-wide communications, and recruit and retain employees.
Cambrex provides some basic ESG-related statements on its website. For example, Cambrex states: “We are fully committed to continuous improvement in our environmental performance.” However, without details of this commitment, supporting data, or a description of the steps it is taking to achieve this improvement, investors are unable to evaluate whether Cambrex is adequately prepared to mitigate ESG-related risks or take advantage of ESG-related opportunities.
Corporate sustainability reporting could also unlock opportunities for growth by communicating Cambrex’s efforts to its business customers that increasingly seek to do business with companies that manage ESG issues responsibly. For instance, Gilead Sciences, which accounted for 36.9% of Cambrex’s sales in 2016, recently updated its Supplier Code of Conduct to include indicators on diversity, labor practices, human rights, environmental health and safety, and environmental impact.
Corporate sustainability reporting is widespread:
• In 2015, KPMG found 73% of 4,500 global companies had ESG reports.
• The Governance & Accountability Institute reports 82% of the S&P 500 published corporate sustainability reports in 2016.
• CDP, representing 827 institutional investors globally with approximately $100 trillion in assets, calls for company disclosure on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change management programs.
The link between strong sustainability management and value creation is increasingly evident. The University of Oxford and Arabesque Partners reviewed 200 studies on sustainability and corporate performance and concluded 90 percent of studies show “sound sustainability