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NYC Steps Up Pressure on Major Companies to Release Diversity Data

(Bloomberg) —



a person standing in front of a store: An employee walks through the toy section at a Walmart Inc. store in Burbank, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. To get the jump on Black Friday selling, retailers are launching Black Friday-like promotions in the weeks prior to the event since competition and price transparency are forcing retailers to grab as much share of the consumers' wallet as they can.


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An employee walks through the toy section at a Walmart Inc. store in Burbank, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. To get the jump on Black Friday selling, retailers are launching Black Friday-like promotions in the weeks prior to the event since competition and price transparency are forcing retailers to grab as much share of the consumers’ wallet as they can.

New York City is stepping up pressure on Walmart Inc., McDonald’s Corp., Nike Inc. and almost two dozen other major companies, asking them to release workforce data on race and gender or face a shareholder vote next year. 

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The 24 companies, which also include Ford Motor Co., Procter & Gamble Co. and Home Depot Inc., ignored a request in July from the city to release private data they give on race and gender to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, New York Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement Thursday. The reports give critical insight into workforce demographics at the biggest corporations across several different employment classes, including top management.

The proposal is being spearheaded by Stringer and the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers Retirement System and the Board of Education Retirement System. If the companies don’t agree to disclose the data, their shareholders will be asked to vote on nonbinding proposals requiring disclosure at their next annual meeting.

The initiative is part of a broader push to increase workforce transparency and diversity at companies that have voiced support for equality after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the disproportionate death rates of minorities from Covid-19.  Some companies refuse to publicly disclose the EEOC forms because they see the data categories as too general and not specific to the unique aspects of their workforces. 

3M Co. said it would release a new diversity report in 2021 that includes its EEOC form. Boeing Co. said it had no plans to release its EE0C form, but said it was “committed to increasing transparency by publishing our representation annually starting in 2021.” International Business Machines Corp. also said it wouldn’t release the data, while Kraft Heinz Co. declined to comment. Charles Schwab Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. said they are reviewing the request. Home Depot said it hasn’t announced plans to make the form public.



a person standing in front of a store: A pedestrian holding an umbrella passes in front of a closed Nike Inc. store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. In New York City, the virtual shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to create massive holes in the budget as billions of dollars in tax revenue disappears.


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A pedestrian holding an umbrella passes in front of a closed Nike Inc. store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. In New York City, the virtual shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to create massive holes in the budget as billions of dollars in tax revenue disappears.

A Bloomberg analysis in October found that only 25 companies in the S&P 100 were willing to release the so-called EEO-1 forms to the public. The reports are considered the gold standard for diversity disclosure because they are submitted by all companies with 100 or more employees, using the same rules and format. There’s little or no added cost to release them to the public. Morgan Stanley, which was on the initial New York City list, released its EEOC data in late November as part of its first-ever diversity report. 

Large money managers also are exerting pressure on corporations. State Street Global Advisors, which manages about $3 trillion, in August said that it will ask companies for information on their goals for racial diversity, while Calvert Research and Management, one of the oldest and biggest socially responsible fund managers, in June said it will make a greater push for companies to disclose diversity data. 

Nasdaq Inc., meanwhile, will require all listed members to add at least one diverse board member and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it will no longer do initial public offerings of companies without a diverse member on their boards.

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