ACSI Call for Stewardship Code
The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has called for a Stewardship Code to be developed and made to apply to all institutional investors within Australia.
This recommendation forms part of a wider call for a review of the regulatory framework on stewardship within the Australian market and a call for greater recognition of the importance of ESG issues.
ACSI's policy statement can be found here.
Best Interests of Corporation
The recent federal budget contained proposals to make amendments to the Canada Business Corporations Act, and one of the amendments would amend s.122 (Duty of care of directors and officers).
This section currently provides that every director and officer while exercising their powers and discharging their duties shall act honestly and in good faith and exercise the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.
The proposed amendment would introduce an additional subsection entitled 'Best interests of the corporation' and would state that while acting with the best interests of the corporation that directors etc. may also consider other factors including shareholders, employees, pensioners, consumers, the environment and the long terms interests of the corporation.
The full proposals can be found here in the accompanying legislation to the federal budget.
Corporate Culture Oversight
PwC has published a helpful report full of tools that are aimed at helping management and boards evaluate, monitor and influence corporate culture.
The report entitled 'Why do boards need to know their company's culture? Hint: to make sure it's an asset, not a liability' provides a sample culture 'thumbprint' to aid in understanding the strengths and challenges associated with the dominant characteristics of an organisation's current culture. It also provides sample monitoring metrics, a culture dashboard and identifies logical allocations of culture oversight among key board committees.
The report can be viewed here.
ESG Reporting Guide (Society 23/05)
Nasdaq has published a global environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting guide for all public and private companies to help them in their ESG disclosure efforts regarding the most commonly used reporting methodologies and frameworks, such as the UN's Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals.
Their guide covers 30 metrics identified by Nasdaq as being the most meaningful, practical and achievable split evenly across the environmental, social and governance categories.
The guide is based on a 'respond or explain' concept for each metric and can be viewed here.