BlackRock: support SASB’s standards on diversity
BlackRock is a leading member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and votes to approve every SASB standard. SASB’s standards are unique in the world of sustainability reporting because they are explicitly designed to cover items that investors agree are financially material. SASB has disclosure standards for diversity and inclusion, requiring reporting about “Percentage of gender and racial/ethnic group representation for (1) executive management, (2) non-executive management, (3) professionals, and (4) all other employees,” for the investment banking & brokerage industry, and similar language for the specialty retail and hardware industries, among others.
In 2017, shareholder resolutions requesting this information were filed at Schwab, Home Depot, Juniper Networks and NetApp. Except for BlackRock‘s socially responsible ETFs, all BlackRock funds voted against these resolutions! Each resolution received between 28% and 48% support. BlackRock’s support would have helped put these resolutions over the top, a powerful signal for these companies to improve their disclosure and encourage them to increase gender, racial and ethnic diversity in their management ranks. Last year, the SASB standards weren’t final, but as of November 2018 they are. Tell BlackRock that it must wholeheartedly support diversity resolutions based on the SASB standards, that BlackRock itself has approved as financially material!